More than 400 walls that ask people to list what they want to do before dying have gone up in the United States and many other countries.

The oversized blackboards — some painted on buildings, others freestanding — invite people to finish the sentence: “Before I die I want to ...”

The responses range from the common to the profound, and include:

make my dad proud

find the yin to my yang

be happy

eat more everything

get my wife back

slow down for a moment and maybe even stop

tell my dad I'm gay

play in the NFL

find a cure for cancer

see Italy

travel the world

brighten someone's day

Rick Destito poses near the "Before I Die" wall he painted on the former factory building he owns in Syracuse, N.Y.
Rick Destito poses near the "Before I Die" wall he painted on the former factory building he owns in Syracuse, N.Y. (Carolyn Thompson/AP)

Artist Cindy Chang created the first wall on an abandoned house in her New Orleans neighborhood in 2011. She said a universal theme is personal well-being, with repeat entries like “come to terms with who I am,” “forgive and be forgiven,” “heal,” and “have no regrets.”

The walls have been put up in more than 60 countries, including Kazakhstan, Mexico, Iraq, Haiti, South Korea and South Africa.

“Some walls reflect the current politics of the region,” Chang said. “But for the most part, the walls have shown just how universal our hopes are.

“We want to love and be loved. We want to see the world. We want to help others. We want to understand who we really are.”

Find out if there's a wall near you and look at more photos of them.

Reporting by the Associated Press.


People finish the sentence "Before I die" on a blackboard in Providence, R.I., on Nov. 29, 2013.
People finish the sentence "Before I die" on a blackboard in Providence, R.I., on Nov. 29, 2013. (Michelle Smith/AP)

Sara McAlister, 22, and Patrick Kraushaar, 26, write on a wall in Syracuse, N.Y. on Nov. 7, 2013.
Sara McAlister, 22, and Patrick Kraushaar, 26, write on a wall in Syracuse, N.Y. on Nov. 7, 2013. (Carolyn Thompson/AP)