From Manifesting to Manifested: The 18 Year Anniversary of my 18th Birthday Major Goals List

Donnie Belcher
6 min readJul 24, 2020

On July 23, 2002, I had just graduated from High School. It was one of those milestones that I had heard about my entire life. As senioritis set in, I started to get super clear about what I wanted the rest of my life to be. I wanted to play the starring role in my life. I wanted to be a DO-ER, not just a dreamer. I can remember sitting at school in the computer lab, as I didn’t have a computer at the time and creating the following list answering the questions “What Are My Major Goals?”

I wanted to do a status update:

(1) To complete my Bachelor’s Degree at DePaul University and receive my degree in English, Education, Journalism and/or Business Administration.

I graduated from DePaul University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education with a concentration in English.

(2) To complete my education at DePaul University with the highest honors of 3.85.

I graduated from DePaul with honors and with multiple other awards including being identified as a “Senior Leader.”

(3) To complete my education at DePaul University and graduate debt free.

I graduated from DePaul debt free after applying for over 100 scholarships my Senior Year which fully funded my undergraduate education. I also received some financial aid from DePaul which supported my education.

(4) To gain financial independence and stability by investing, saving and building my credit.

I have been financially independent since I graduated from college and I have invested and saved significantly. I am still working on my credit!

(5) To attend graduate school and get my Master’s in Education, or Creative Writing or Business.

I attended graduate school but did not finish (yet). I was in the process of pursuing a Masters in Education — Curriculum and Instruction, but life happened and I had to pause, and 10+ years later, I am still on that pause.

(6) To raise a family with my partner and develop an everlasting, healthy love relationship with the father of my children. To have all of my children by the same man.

I have been able to raise children in the capacity of step mom in previous relationships which was an incredible experience that I am happy that I had. I have also went through 4 miscarriages, and am working through fertility challenges at the moment. I am also not adverse to adopting or exploring other pathways to motherhood. More to come!

(7) To develop my own non-profit organization, for the benefit of African American girls aged 8 to 16 (possible 18).

I co-founded a nonprofit in 2011 called Art of Culture (formerly Donda’s House) that does incredible work in Chicago with young creatives. I also work with nonprofits as a consultant supporting primarily early-stage founders. I also work at an organization currently that serves girls in the State of Minnesota. I am truly a “serial entrepreneur” and look forward to continuing to impact youth.

(8) To take care of my mother financially as well as other family members that may need my financial support.

I recently moved back home to Minnesota and my mom and I are together after living in separate cities for 17 years! I am still looking forward to caring for her as she ages.

(9) To learn how to quilt, make bags, and sew clothing and crochet…

My Great Aunt Gert taught me how to quilt, I had tried my hand at making bags and reconstructing clothing. My mom crochets but I never learned.

(10) To own my own home, built from scratch if I cannot find exactly what I want in the market.

I owned my own home for 7 years in Chicago. I truly enjoyed it. Once I moved back to Minnesota, I started renting again. I am making plans to purchase property here in Minnesota soon.

(11) To develop my own publishing company, SPECIFICALLY for the dark skinned people of this continent.

I am still working on this. I would like to at some point invest in a publishing company that specializes in stories about dark complexioned people and/or is owned by a black or Indigenous person.

(12) To publish my collection of poetry as well as other books I plan to write and publish.

I have had single poems published in anthologies several times, but never a full book. Still working on this.

(13) To become a consultant and provide workshops on SENIOR YEAR, as well as TRANSITIONING TO COLLEGE.

I am currently consulting through my firm Work With Donnie and I have taught multiple workshops on Scholarships and the College Admission Process, often for free.

(14) To develop a relationship with major publications including Ebony Magazine, Essence Magazine, Jet Magazine, and Honey Magazine, and possibly develop my own magazine for young African American women (similar to Seventeen).

I have been featured in some of these publications and was selected as an Ebony Power 100 Honoree in 2016 for my work in the nonprofit sector. I have also been featured in Essence Magazine. I’m not necessarily interested in developing my own magazine, but I have blogged and published content relevant to young African American women most of my life.

(15) To build on my relationship with smaller publications such as Insight News Group.

I received an internship at Insight News Group through the Minneapolis Urban League when I was in High School and I worked there all four years as writer and editor. I am still connected to that publication and the staff that poured so much into me. I am an avid reader of smaller publications.

(16) To develop a STRONG personal/professional network by capitalizing on all contacts with people.

This has been a strength for me. I have learned that networking is about maintaining mutually beneficial connections and I have done that most of my life.

(17) To develop healthy eating and exercise habits, and give up meat eventually (except maybe chicken).

I do pretty well with eating and currently eat all meat except for pork and beef.

(18) To own a cafe similar to Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York in a major city such as Chicago or Atlanta.

I am still working on this. I may become an investor in a cafe or build one in my backyard one day.

(19) To build a strong connection with several black females who have similar goals and interests with me.

I have relationships with so many amazing black women including my 4 best friends, my sorors of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. and other founders and creatives.

(20) To teach in the public school system and change the lives of children (especially black children).

I went to public schools my entire life and they made a profound impact on me! I taught in the Chicago Public School System for 12 years and worked primarily with youth who attended public schools in my nonprofit work after I left the classroom for an additional 6 years. Many of my students have gone on to become teachers, which is the most incredible thing that I am happy that I have been able to witness!

(21) To travel to Africa, back to Jamaica and other areas of the world.

I have been to Africa twice (Senegal and South Africa), to Mumbai India, to the United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi and Dubai), to Paris, France, to Cartagena, Colombia, and to London England. I went to Jamaica in High School (prior to completing this list) and can’t wait to go back hopefully sometime soon! I also did the Ancestry test and found I am 94% African and I’d really like to get to the other countries I have a genetic connection to (I am 12% Senegalese so I can cross that one off the list. The majority of my DNA is connected to Ghana 30+ percent and The Congo 30+ percent.

(22) To leave a legacy for myself, long after I have passed away and set a path for others to follow.

I have always been conscious of death and the reality that life in this form comes to an end. I guess someone will have to reflect on this when I am no longer here.

I have been very fortunate that I have been able to manifest most of the items on this list. I am also being very intentional about writing a new list for the next 18 years and beyond. I have learned so much about myself, about faith, about hope and about hard work over the last 18 years. In the next story in the From Manifesting to Manifested series, I will talk about the “conditions” that lead to the creation of this list 18 years ago.

Also, I am teaching a workshop on Manifestation on 8/8 at 8 pm CST. You can sign up for that here. Also, if you have questions that you’d like for me to answer or explore in this series, please make a comment below.



Donnie Belcher

Donnie Belcher (IG @donnienicole84) is a life-coach, business strategist & the owner of wellness company Whatever we say comes looking for us.