My Manifesto For The Next 25 Years

This week I’ll turn 26, and I’ve been reflecting on this first 25 years of my life. I was discussing this with my friend Alyssa this weekend over frozen strawberry margaritas, and I told her I’m really proud of what I’ve done in the first 25 years of my life. I’ve moved to my city, I’ve joined a great company and I’ve been promoted a couple of times. I’ve got friends and people I care about, and I’m enjoying myself and my career I’ve started. When I said this, she brought up a point that really hit home for me. She said, “You know, you’ve only really had control and freedom to call your own shots for the last 3 years or so. Before you moved to New York and got your job, you really were just doing what everyone said you should do.” 

She was totally right. I’ve only been actually working toward this for about 3 years. I’m lucky enough to come from a family and a community where graduating high school and college was just the default for me. Those things were always going to happen.

My life before NY was not really up to me, and only recently have I been able to start to build my own extraordinary life. It's not that I'm proud of what I’ve built in the last 25 years, I’m actually proud of what I’ve built in the last 3 years. To think about it that way has shown me just how much I can do in a small number of years, and how much of an impact I can really have in my next 25 years.

I’ve always wanted big things for my life. We only have one, and we need to make the most of it. I’ve always felt like I wanted to go big and make a huge life for myself that really made a difference for people. It’s empowering to know how much time I have to do that before I turn 50 years old. I can see 50 from way back here, but I have a lot of knowledge and experience to pick up if I’m going to have the impact that I want to have.

In a book I recently read called “The Career Manifesto,” author Mike Steib says that the key to building your dream life is to decide who or what you want to be and then face the fact that at this moment, you are fully unqualified to be that person. You have to map out what it will take to become that person, and then do the very difficult work that it will take to become that person. So that’s what I plan to do in the next 25 years of my life. Sure, life can be a highway, but the people who will get the furthest on that highway are the people who have a plan. So in this post, I am going to map out the things that I want to happen in the next 25 years of my life, and from there I will build a plan to make these things happen.

I will have a high ranking position in people development at an impactful organization I believe in.

All I have ever cared about is making people happy, comfortable, free, and proud of themselves. When I was in high school, I was the Student Body President, and my job was to make people enjoy high school. When I was in college, I was an RA, and my job was to make people love living on campus at college. These days I work on employee training and onboarding and it’s my job to help make people love where they work. When looking back and connecting the dots, all I’ve ever wanted is to help people make the most of their experience while on earth. I care about that, and I want to make that my mission for the next 25 years. It feels like I’ve found my purpose, and when I turn 50, I want to see myself helping people discover and develop theirs.

I will be connected with tons and tons of interesting people.

My happiness has always come from the people I’ve chosen to surround me in life. There is no one person who will make me happy, and my happiness will never depend on one person. I love people, discussion, diversity, celebration, and growth. I want to have dinner parties. I have always dreamed of hosting an annual New Year’s Eve party in my Manhattan penthouse and invite what feels like one million people who I really care about.

Professionally, I want to be connected to tons of people who help each other. It will be a network of people who believe in making the world an awesome place to be, and I will help them in any way that I can. I’ve always been fascinated by people who “know someone who can help with that.” I will be that person.

I will have written and published a book that is sold on the shelves of Barnes and Noble.

I joke that having a book on the shelves of Barnes and Noble is “my only goal in life." And that’s because, in essence, it’s true. The day that my book is released it will mean that two things are true; First, it will mean that I have grown a ton and I have now collected lots of great lessons to share with everyone. Second, it will mean that I have worked my way up in the world to a place where a publisher believes that I can sell millions of copies of a book I wrote.

I know that I can do this because Barnes and Noble is filled with books written by everyday people I've never heard of. There is nothing holding me back from writing a book that is published and sold in stores around the world. Every author used to be someone who hasn’t written a book. I have 25 years to do this, and there is no reason I can’t do it.  

People will interview me on broadcasts and publications.

By the time I’m 50, I will have so much to say about things. I will have written a book for goodness sake. My entire mission for the next 25 years is to become someone who is an expert in making people find purpose, value, and happiness in their lives. I am already obsessed with this and I truthfully barely know what I’m talking about. In the next 25 years, I really want to do this the right way and become someone who knows what he is talking about. And in order to share what I’ve picked up, I want to be a bit of a personality and a thought leader on this. Back to Mike Steib’s point I mentioned earlier, I am fully accepting that as it stands, I am not this expert I speak of. But I know that if I put in the work, I can become that person by the time I’m 50.

I will have an absolutely obscene amount of money.

Without getting into a debate about whether money buys happiness or not, I know that I personally value money and I want to have an obscene amount of it by the time I’m 50. I want to have such an obscene amount of money that each year I can donate an obscene amount of money to causes I care about, and I would still have an obscene amount of money left over. I want to have the kind of money that lets you be bicoastal so I can easily visit friends and family, and I want to be the kind of person who always gets the best gifts. I am someone who has always been motivated by money because I am someone who has always been obsessed with freedom, independence, and making the world a better place. I want to have so much money that I can make the difference and the impact that I want to make. I do not want finances to ever hold me back. I will do this by accomplishing all of the above and more by the time I’m 50 years old. It would just make more sense for me to be absolutely loaded by the time I’m 50 ;)

It is completely wild how much can happen in life when you just have a plan and you are focused. I've learned so much in the last 3 years and the last 25 years. I fully expect myself to twist and turn, fail, and change this plan a billion times. But this is my broad plan, and I am telling you right now that all of these things will be true on the day that I turn 50 years old. I consider myself to be a focused person who is focused on the long game, and I really want these things to happen.

The above are my top priorities. I may pick up new priorities along the way, but I refuse to let life happen to me and go with the flow. I read in “The Career Manifesto” that people who want to live extraordinary lives have to do extraordinary things to make that happen-- I’m planning to do those extraordinary things in my next 25 years.

Now I have to figure out how to get this blog post mailed to myself on my 50th birthday <3

Thanks for reading this! If you want to follow me, find me on Twitter or Instagram @therealbenhawes.