April 23, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra
Life is short. Too short, some might argue. I, however, think that acknowledging the brevity of life allows one to better determine how you can spend it best – how to make the most of it all. While not an entirely pleasant thought, there’s a lot of motivating power behind the notion that this day might be your last – it forces you to ask some pretty hard questions and might inspire some pretty bold action. Those questions and actions aren’t ones we live with often; we like to think instead that tomorrow will always be there to accomplish whatever you put off doing today. Today’s project, however, is asking the big questions – the hard questions – and making you take stock of what matters most.
Before I Die… is an interactive public display which is prompting Pittsburgh for its bucket lists. Turning derelict walls and abandoned buildings into chalkboards, the message is different for everyone, but important to all.
It encourages and inspires community residents and visitors alike to share their stories and dreams in a public forum. Through this project we can be reminded of how valuable we are not only as individuals, but as united communities.
Centered in some of poorest and most underdeveloped stretches of urban Pittsburgh, the things that matter most to the residents there are sure to turn some heads and open some minds far beyond the city limits. What they want, what they value, what they hope and dream and aspire to all shapes the way they live their lives, and this project is a reminder to them, to us, and to every mortal being that life shouldn’t be wasted on we the living.
I’ve slowly but surely been constructing a pseudo-bucket list of my own, and I’m slowly but surely working my way through it. Hopefully, I’ll continue to add enough to it to keep me busy for the next few centuries, but if ever I find myself lingering, this project’s message will be one I’ll use to get me back on track.