If you haven’t listened to our latest season of the podcast, Honest Money Conversations wrapped up again last week. In the final episode, Carrie shared a question she had been grappling with, and I have been thinking about it ever since: what would you do, if you weren’t already doing this?
What I love about the question is that you could apply it to so many different aspects of life. What you do for a living, how you budget your money, what your habits are, and so on. If you weren’t doing it this one way already, and had the chance to start over, would you still do it today? Or would you do something different?
Personally, I have been applying the question to my work. Carrie’s question is what sparked me to write this post and document what I’ve accomplished since I started this blog 7+ years ago. It felt really important for me to take stock of this stuff, before making any big decisions about what to do next. And that’s not to say a single blog post is what helped me come to any conclusions! I’ve been asking myself “what do you really want to do?” since last year, and have more than enough messy notes in my journal to prove it’s taken many months to figure it out. But that blog post felt like the last page of one chapter, and this post is the start of a new one. :)
Going back to Carrie’s question, here’s what I know: if I started a brand new blog today, it wouldn’t be a personal finance blog. I don’t have $30,000 of debt anymore. I’m not doing a shopping ban. And I don’t have any big financial goals that I’m working towards (just retirement). I will always care about my own personal finances, and I will also always want to create space for us to have open and honest conversations about money. Have a question? Ask me anytime! I mean it. Because I know that the more we share, the more we can all learn from each other—and the better off we will all be. So I will always be open to having those conversations.
But I’m not a personal finance blogger anymore. I have known that for a long time, and thought making the switch from “blondeonabudget.ca” to “caitflanders.com” was enough to prove it to myself. But I was still working on Rockstar Finance, which sometimes made me feel like I was (or like I should be). And the fact that I was working on Rockstar also meant that I was basically only consuming personal finance content. I love that my job was to simply read your blogs and find the gems we could share with the world. Without that job taking up 6+ hours/week, though, I’ve been able to spend more time thinking about what’s next.
If I started a brand new blog today, it would probably be called something like “themindfulconsumer.co” (and yes, I own it, lol) and that’s a lot of what I would write about. I am completely obsessed with the topic of us, as humans, being consumers of everything. And I love talking about how what we consume affects our lives, our work, our mindsets, our habits—and yes, our wallets too. This includes thinking about our digital lives vs. analog lives, finding information + inspiration from spaces outside of the ones we work in, and so on. I am simply OBSESSED. (Want to hear a bit more about what I mean by this? You might enjoy this episode of our podcast.)
And I’m not surprised by this. I completed my BA in Communications in 2012, and some of my favourite papers and projects were on this exact topic (specifically, social media and technology). But then I found myself maxed out financially, and my only priority was getting out of debt. We all know where things went from there. :)
So, that’s where my interests lie, and what the blog will be about going forward: a space where we can talk about how to become more mindful consumers (with a big focus on digital vs. analog). And I actually don’t think this is too far of a stretch from what I’ve been moving towards, anyway. At first, I was worried that writing a memoir about a year where I didn’t shop would pigeonhole me into that space. But when I really think about it, my intention for that book was to start a conversation around how to stop binging and start being a mindful consumer—and that was a great place for me to start.
Now, the beautiful thing about having a blog with your name as the URL is that you can write about anything, and I also see the topic of adventure coming up a lot too. Specifically, I want to bring the outdoors into my work. If you look at my Instagram account or read this post, this should come as no surprise. I want to talk about what the word “adventure” means to me; that includes tiny adventures (like my Adventure Tuesday’s) and big adventures (like my trip to the UK next month). It also includes the topic of challenging myself, both outdoors and in all the ways I have attempted to create change in my life.
I’m still working out some of the details of what all of this will look like, including a new project I want to launch alongside it this summer. The best part (for me) is that nothing really needs to change on my blog, aside from my “about” page. My URL will stay the same, and I already have a logo that fits with this new direction. :)
Before officially “signing off” as a personal finance blogger, I want to go out with a bit of a bang. Since it’s Financial Literacy Month (in the US), I thought I would spend it sharing every last bit of personal finance-goodness that is currently bottled up inside me. I have a handful of money-related posts in my drafts folder that I would love to publish and nearly a dozen personal finance books to share via giveaways (woo! multiple giveaways!).
I don’t think it’s possible to show you just how excited I am about these changes, especially the new project I’m going to launch this summer! I was afraid to say “I don’t want to write about money forever” out loud, because a hard pass or “no” always feels like you could be closing a door and losing out on opportunities (including money). But since doing therapy last year, I have slowly been adding more and more boundaries into my life. And after opening up and being honest with a group of women (at one of Nicole Antoinette’s events!) in Seattle last weekend, I knew I had to give myself permission to do what I REALLY want to do—and this is it. :)
So, that’s it for now, friends! The first book giveaway will be on Friday, and then I’ll be back next week with two money-related posts. Until then, I’m curious:
What would you do, if you weren’t already doing “this”? (Whatever “this” means to you, right now.)