Before I Die


This is not a suicidal post, but rather a reflection on life and how I want to live it. I heard a piece on NPR yesterday called “Before I Die”, funny enough, and it was about an artist who painted chalkboard paint all over the side of an abandoned house and then stenciled the words “Before I Die ________” all over it and left chalk for people to fill in the blanks.  The idea caught on in cities around the world and became a movement.

Too much of the time I feel like I am waiting to live – waiting to know the outcome on a disability decision, waiting for winter to end, waiting for things outside of myself to determine the course of my life. I also spend too much time on Facebook reading all kinds of fucked up memes saying “Today Is The First Day of The Rest of Your Life”, or “It’s Never Too Late To Make Your Dreams Come True” or other stupid shit like that, that doesn’t inspire me, but rather makes me feel like I have royally fucked up my life beyond all recognition.  But when I listened to the radio program last night, I thought, I could make a list, a realistic list, of things I want to do before I die.  And then I could make sure that the decisions I make in my life somehow point me toward these desires.  So here is my list, and I invite you to share yours too.

Before I die, I want to be truly loved by a man again.

Before I die, I want to go to France again.

Before I die, I want to write a book that details my battles with mental illness, shows that I am a real, relatable person, and inspires others.

Before I die, I want to see many more wild, ancient places and photograph them.

Before I die, (and not the day before I die), I want to quit smoking.

Before I die, I want to have a truly fit body and be active in the outdoors.

Before I die, I want to live independently again.

Before I die, I want to go on another archaeological survey.

Before I die, I want to reduce my belongings to a bare minimum so that my family is not left with a big pile of shit to go through.

Before I die, I want to spent A LOT more time at the ocean.


It seems like I should have something bigger to say, or more profound. But I don’t.  These are things that I want to do, and I’m going to print this out and remember that this is why I’m living.  Not to worry, not just to pay bills, not to exist, do daily chores, and count the days until it’s Spring.  I have a purpose, and it’s found in these desires I have.  What may ultimately come out of achieving these desires, I don’t know.  But I’ve thought long and hard about what my life’s purpose is, and today I realize, it isn’t one thing.  It IS to experience what I desire, and it IS to experience joy, and satisfaction, and meaningful experiences.  This is a revelation!  I found it!  My life’s purpose.  Right here.  Today is a good day.  I’m going to go start working on this list.  Hope your day is a great one.


33 thoughts on “Before I Die

  1. Pingback: Before I Die | persistantlyhopeful

  2. I think perhaps I should make a list too. What’s cool about your list, though, is do you realize how many of those things were followed by “again” or “more of..”? That means that you’ve had a really fulfilling, cool life so far and done a lot of things that people only dream of doing even once. You get to dream of “again.” Maybe that’s something to be thankful for? Anyway, I think it looks like you’ve had a cool life. 🙂

    • Hey! Thanks for saying that!!! I HAVE done some things in between the down periods. And doing these things is so life-affirming, I think it might actually stave off some of the “downs”. I really appreciate your comments ❤

  3. I’m glad this has been a good day for you. There isn’t a lot that I would put into a “before I die” list, that I can think of. A few little things. Nothing as major as what you have written. I think that is probably the depression talking, telling me that I CAN’T do big things, great things. You know how that goes. Good for you, for having dreams, for living dreams. You rock, sister! ❤

  4. Whenever I meet people for the first time, I always ask them “If a genie granted you three wishes, what would you ask for?” It gives me so much insight into the person’s character. You sound like such a romanticist and those are my favorite kind of people. Always full of excitement and wonder.

    From someone who is suffering from depression right now, I find this “Before I Die___” movement to be very uplifting and inspirational. I’ve already thought of and copied a few of your dreams. Hopefully I’ll get to all of them someday because it reminds me that there is a lot to live for.

  5. I’ve just recently started a “bucket list” which is my “before I die____” list. I think it is a great thing for everyone to do. Goals are good! I wish I would have caught that program you listened to. Sounds like it was a good one. And I hope you get to do everything on your list.

  6. Awesome idea…hmm, sounds like multiple writing assignments passed out here.
    Yes, that completely makes a visual list to work towards when “not being here anymore” sounds like a better idea. Good for you.
    Seems some of mine match yours at first thoughts of what I’d write. 😉

  7. So great that you made a list of what you want to hone in on for the rest of your life. Your list is fab and this is a great idea!! I am with you on writing and reducing my belongings (too much noise in my life). Stay focused and take good good of yourself. Cheering you on!

  8. This is such a meaningful post. I’ve saved it. I also feel like I spend my life waiting to live. I do nothing. I live by the sea but hardly ever go because I’m on a tight budget. But I have a small divorce settlement and at the back of my mind there’s this voice that says I could be doing so much more – instead of just existing. I’m seeing my broker this week and I’m going to embrace your message. I’m going to take some money and lead a more meaningful life

    • OMG you are so sweet. I am overjoyed that my post touched you in some way. That is the greatest thing about blogging. I don’t always hit the mark, in fact, most of the time I don’t. But that one in a million post that raises people up…makes me very happy. Thank you and I hope things keep getting better for you.

  9. I’m so glad that I came back to read these posts, especially this one!
    Your list is amazing, and I know you can achieve every single one!
    What a cool thing to write about – I love it!

    And I think every single sentence is super-proufond you silly…SEWER!!!!
    (Not the poopy kind!)

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