Before I die…


I love historic homes, buildings, neighborhoods, all of it. Well, maybe not ALL of it, as I look at my endless list of house projects and wonder where I’ll find the time and cash. Last week was the Annual NPA Home Tour and before that was the Upstairs Downtown tour. We are drawn to these spaces that give us a sense of place – these spaces that have history and beauty and a richness to them unlike any other. I feel like these buildings and homes have so many stories and secrets to share, and we need to be innovative and find ways to utilize them fully in our ‘modern day’ times.

I recently watched a TED talk by Candy Chang, who has begun a movement in her home city of New Orleans that resonates with me and makes me wish I would’ve thought of it.

Chang was reflecting on the lightening pace of everyday life as she mourned the loss of a friend, and she wished she could make her life and those around her more meaningful. “We don’t bump in to every neighbor (often, if at all), so a lot of wisdom never gets passed on. But we DO share the same public spaces.”

“How can we lend and borrow more of our things without knocking on each other’s doors at a bad time? How can we share more of our memories of our abandoned buildings and gain a better understanding of our landscape?” Chang lives nearby an abandoned building that made her wonder how she could use it as a catalyst for others to gather and share a part of themselves. She painted one side of it with chalkboard paint and the words: Before I die, I want to. . .

The side of the building filled up by the next day. It became a space of giving and taking – of sharing. I’ve written before about things I want to see in Noblesville, and it’s that sort of gathering spot and sharing our voices in public spaces that makes me go, “yeah, that’s what we need here right now. That’s the sort of world I want to live in.”


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