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From TED Talk to Denver neighborhood: Before I die…

Recently, two large chalkboards were propped against the wall next to Purple Door Coffee in the Five Points neighborhood. The question posed was not typical coffee shop fare. Written across the top, the sentence started, “Before I die I want to….”

A 2012 TED Talk by Candy Chang was behind the concept. Chang had lost a mother figure in 2009 and was looking for a use for an abandoned building in her New Orleans neighborhood. So, she put up chalkboards asking people to fill in the blank after “Before I die.” The responses made her laugh, cry and take solace that she was not alone.

The local Colorado reaction

Comments ranged from “love and be loved” to “teach yoga” or “make a movie.” One man interviewed by a local CBS-affiliate said that the sign stood out to him, because he had recently lost a loved one.

The rain had partially washed off some of the chalk allowing more people to contribute.

Perspective into daily life

In the TED Talk some of the comments Chang recalls were “live off the grid,” “plant a tree” and “be someone’s cavalry.” She also mentioned our two main things in life:

  • Time
  • Relationships

The first one, we can’t control. No one knows the exact amount remaining either. By thinking about death for a few moments, it can instill gratitude for the time we have had.

Relationships are also valuable and can take a backseat in an age of electronic distraction. Be in the moment and do not take family and friends for granted.

Take time to do some advance planing

And tied in is a general message to extend the thought about death for another minute to contact an estate planning attorney.

Don’t leave behind a mess for those you care about most. Everyone can benefit from having a will plus power of attorney/medical directive(s), which avoid a guardianship/conservatorship proceeding and give instructions during incapacity.

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