Maria Brophy


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Why you should have a Death Wish

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Drew, Charging Puerto Barrels 20 years later!

“Let us endeavor to live so that when we die even the undertaker will be sorry”  Mark Twain

Do you ever question if what you’re doing with your daily life is the right thing?

Do you feel that you’ve reached a lot of your goals, but you’re still bored?  Stuck in a hum-drum existence?

I’ve been feeling that way lately.

Every two years or so, I reach a point where I question my very existence.

It usually happens when I hit a plateau in my career; I’ll feel content for about ten minutes!  Then, I start yearning for something  more.

And, like most people, I ask myself if I’m doing the right things and am I missing out on something?

But maybe we are asking ourselves the wrong questions.

When my husband Drew graduated high school, he couldn’t afford college, and he was unhappy living the wild Myrtle Beach lifestyle.  He felt lonely and depressed.

Then he asked himself a question that changed everything.

“If I died today, what would I regret that I didn’t do yet?”

The answer came easy for him.  He had always dreamed of surfing really big waves, waves that were challenging even to the world’s top surfers.

That one question gave him the focus and direction he was seeking. And it led to his next move.

Puerto Escondido, Mexico was his first move.  The waves there are crushing and awesome and dangerous.  For Drew, it was a challenge of a lifetime.  It’s what got him motivated.

Drew went to Puerto Escondido and surfed the biggest waves of his life.  That led him to the start of his art career, because there he met people who encouraged him to move to Hawaii to paint surfboards.   He found his groove in life and here he is, twenty years later, the best known surfboard artist in the world.

But that’s not the point of the story.

It’s this:  When you’re feeling complacent and restless, ask yourself this question:

“If I died today, what would I regret that I didn’t do yet?”

And then take if from there.  Go on and live your life fully, doing what you dream of doing.

Maria xxoo

PS:  I had always dreamed of backpacking around the world.  I’ve done that now, and so my next “must do before I die” goal is to hike Mt. Whitney.  I’m scheduled to hike it on August 10th!

What’s your pre-death wish?! Share in the comments, please!.



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32 Comments Why you should have a Death Wish

  1. Archan Mehta


    Thank You.

    Nice post. Good job. Had a great time reading it, to be sure.

    However, I am too young to die–that’s why I decided not to get married.

    Enough of jokes, though. To answer your question, well, I still have a long way to go.

    I always wanted to pursue learning and education.

    I always wanted to be a writer, poet and journalist.

    I always wanted to climb hills and become an outdoor enthusiast.

    I always want to go outside for leisurely strolls and get a workout.

    I always wanted to learn yoga, especially meditation.

    I always wanted to buy barbie dolls, teddy bears and toy soldiers for baby girls and baby boys and give them the TLC treatment.

    I want to take toddlers to Dinsneyland and Disneyworld and help them to enjoy the rides and amuse themselves and have fun.

    I want to make sure children have a good time, so there is laughter and sunshine in their lives–there should be a smile of joy on their faces. I want to be the designated clown (Bozo) for children.

    I always wanted to learn how to cook, so I can avoid a disaster in the kitchen: the ladies hate you if you mess up their territory.

    I want to read deeply and widely and learn foreign languages too.
    I want to travel to exotic destinations too–on my own–without friends and family and colleagues. Just as a backpacker and bohemian type.

    I want to spend time in solitary activities and try to avoid distractions, like the gazillions of people I know and who know me. I don’t want to become a hermit and live in a cave on top of a mountain in Montana, but I want to be left alone to pursue my hobbies and interests.

    The list goes on. So much unfinished business. So many dreams.


    P.S. Most important of all: I would like to start a blog one of these days, so that the Spunky-types don’t yell “bloody murder, Archan.”

    1. Maria Brophy

      Archan, you and I have a lot of the same “bucket list” items! So much in common! The second you start your blog, i want to know about it.

  2. John Grunwell

    I want to be a muralist sought out and paid well to paint my own abstract compositions on walls and surfaces across the globe, and never once paint a mural referencing history, culture, local traditions, etc, just pure Grunwellean muralania.

    1. Maria Brophy

      Wow, John, I checked out your mural works – Grunwellean is the greatest word for it! Thanks for the comment, and I love your website greeting: “Greetings, fellow earthlings, extraterrestrials, and other sentient beings”

      1. John Grunwell

        Thanks for the kind words! I’ve told the Universe and local agents of Earth Coincidence Control Office (ECCO) to conspire to bring murals my way.

  3. Melinda Cootsona

    Hi Maria,
    Great blog. I once heard (maybe from Oprah) about writing one’s own obituary in order to reflect on our life, the influences we make and to really get at what we want to be remembered for. It’s a different take on the same thing that you are suggesting, and maybe goes a little deeper.
    I know it gave me direction.
    Best, Melinda

    1. Maria Brophy

      Melinda, I remember Oprah talking about that – and I think it’s good to look at life in the sense that you have to do the best stuff now, rather than wait until later, when you might not be here anymore!

  4. HPallay

    I have just started asking myself this! I want to work hard and get to the point that my art can sustain me. I want to spend a year in India. I want to hike the entire length of the Grand Canyon. I want to travel the world! I would love be able to take a class with you and/or your husband as Drew is my favorite contemporary artist. As always thanks for the inspiration and helpful advice!

    1. Maria Brophy

      India is on my list, for sure! And, my hubby just did 225 miles down the river in the Grand Canyon, but that wasn’t on my list – too dangerous for me! I’ll let you know when we have a class next…thanks!

  5. Jane

    My wish has been for some time to write and illustrate children’s books. So far, I have accomplished this thru an iPhone app partnership and feel so rewarded when I hear about children and their parents enjoying my stories.

    The next step is to grow the stories into a functional brand so there can be MORE stories, more sharing, and fair income so that I can keep doing it!

    Likes the post Maria! -Jane

  6. Kelly Fitzgerald

    Fantastic you will be hiking Mt. Whitney! Enjoy the experience! My goal is to hike all 200 plus miles of the John Muir Trail someday soon. It ends at the top of Mt. Whitney. Cheers!

  7. Josh Ulloa

    I checked off a major one this year by starting my own woodworking business. I’ve never felt better about myself and what I’m doing.
    Two others high on my list right now are to climb El Capitan in Yosemite and travel to Patagonia. I know it’s just a matter of setting my mind to it.
    Mt Whitney and the Eastern Sierra is a special place, be prepared to make many return visits :). Thanks for the great post!

  8. Alex Mitchell

    Great post and great comments by everyone. I can only add that I hope by dedicating my life to my art I’ve made a difference somehow… that I won’t regret the path I’ve chosen, because there are lots of things I haven’t done in order to do my art.

  9. Naomi

    Maria, I love your blog. It has been a great accountability partner as I pursue my dreams and goals as an artist.

    I dream to use my art to make a difference in the lives of children and families.

    I dream to adopt a child from where-ever! Costa, Peru, Mexico… doesn’t matter! I just want to share the love of my family, watch it grow and be blessed!!!

    I dream to learn to surf and conquer my fears of being knocked down by a wave!

    I dream to live on the beach!

    I look forward to graduating with my bachelors in illustration in just 1 1/2 years and both my sons will get to see me achieve a dream I have had and conquered!!!!

    I love your posts! Thanks for everything and your inspiration!!!!

  10. Rtv03

    *Publish 2 artbooks. 1 love related, the other erotic/nudity

    *Publish a comic.

    *Appear on art exhibitions.

    *Make videos of my work in progress. (inspired by Why An Artist Shoot Shoot Themselves)
    *Help the world become aware Autism is not a disease but a gift….at least how i experience it.


    No plans on dying yet.

  11. Pingback: Stepping Off Into Your Dreams « Live & Inspire Magazine – The online portal that serves to report on HAPPY news and stories of growth and inspiration.

  12. desperado

    What if you have a death wish and you can’t fulfill your dreams due to lack of money? What if you don’t have the will to carry out things you might regret if you die.

    Why is it so hard to die? If some people born mentally defected by having a death wish or get this flaw later in their life, why is it so hard to let them die if that’s what they want? If you go to the store and want to buy a pruduct you don’t want that the salbesman will supply you a defective good or a faulty one that constantly tend to break

    I tried life didn’t like it that much please end it up for me.

    I hate life so much that i have no gutts to end it

    1. Adam Grenier

      You don’t need money to kill yourself. There is always glass. There are windows.

      If you really want to die you can punch your bare hand through glass windows and that is very likely to cut some major arteries. If it does and nobody is around to save you then you will bleed to death. Doing it at night would be best so that there are fewer people outside seeing as you are homeless and using the library computer if you really don’t have money.

      Want something guaranteed. Just jump.

      Better yet, lie on the train tracks.

      If money stops you it is just an excuse. Anyone who really seeks death will find a way to get it. There are many cost-free ways of killing yourself.

  13. Aaron Lai

    Well, I’m not dead yet, but before I die, I want to be able to become a parkour traceur, which is freedom of movement, through any obstacle starting from point a to point b. I would like to climb a huge building and just look at the whole city street from a birds eyeview like new york or italy 🙂 crazy isn’t it?

  14. Karen

    Love this blog!

    I want to travel the California coastline.
    I want to buy my own kayak.
    Remodel my whole house.
    Create a gorgeous xeriscape yard.
    License my art to Crate and Barrel.

  15. Michael Nauert

    Wow! I love this! Reading this brings comfort in such a lighthearted way. It’s good to feel that I’m not alone and that there’s a way out. Today I woke up and decided to stop this whole complacent mindset, and move forward. So, I began reading some articles on art to help lift my eyes and heart to know what good is coming. Today I’m going to write down some goals…or at least think about them.
    As far as things I want to do before I die…well, I have seen crazy things. I would say I want to see people feel a presence of love through my art, to the point that they get healed from wounds, or even to the point that insecurities are forgotten. I want people to be encouraged when they experience my art. In some way I want to know that people are having great encounters from my art. That’s one thing I’d really enjoy to see.

  16. Pingback: How to Thrive as a Professional Artist Lecture at Furman University - Maria Brophy | Maria Brophy

  17. Susie Odiorne

    How about create artwork that inspires other people to stretch out of their comfort zones. I suppose in order to do that, I’ll have to stretch out of mine!

  18. Lisa Frances Judd

    Hi Maria, I accidentally came across this post and it hit me that I am where you described. I have had some success as an artist, especially with my own art print products and Licensing in Australia. Having said that, I also recently took a six figure income Corporate job that crossed my path unexpectedly purely for the money and to get my husband off my back. Got bills to pay like we all do.

    I should be happy, a great paying job, running my art business, albeit part time now, but I want that art success I have been chasing for years and years and I want to achieve it BEFORE I die. Like most artists, you need to make money to work in your passion. I’m missing something – maybe you and I need to catch up on a coaching call because I am stuck. Lisa 🙂

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