Have you seen this project by Candy Chang?
For those of you who haven’t clicked the link, Candy turned the side of an abandoned house into a blackboard, stencilled “Before I Die I Want to __________” all over it and left chalk in a basket so passers-by could fill it in. She got all sorts of responses from “grow old” to “write a book”, “see my daughter graduate” to “be tried for piracy”.
Anyway, it got me thinking: what do I want to have done before I die? What do you?
I used to be able to answer this question easily. When I was a teenager, I wanted to be independent (tick). When I was moving from rental flat to rental flat, I wanted to own my own home (tick). Growing up, I wanted to be a published writer (tick). But now that I’ve achieved all of those things, what’s left?
I have a lovely boyfriend and no particular interest in marriage. I have a job I enjoy. I’m so unlikely to have children that I’ve never given much thought to whether I’d like any. I don’t really want to go bungee jumping and, while I’d quite like a few more holidays, there’s nowhere I feel it would be a failure not to see.
I see so many lists on other people’s blogs – things to do before 20/30/40/I die; 101 things to do in the next 1000 days – but the truth is, while there are things I think it would be nice to do (sew better; dance more; learn to control my hair…), I have no burning ambitions these days. And, honestly? I kind of think that’s a good thing.
I know that I am lucky. I know how easily I could lose my job or my home; Steve could leave me; friends could disappear. We’ve all been reminded recently of just how easily we could lose not just one of those things but everything. So, for now, while I will never not welcome a holiday or an adventure or a nice pair of shoes, I’m happy to be able to say, “this is enough.”