Wow. I can hardly believe that we launched this blog five years ago. It frankly feels like an eternity ago. So much has happened…so many dreams have come true, as well as disappointments and recurring financial frustrations.
I blogged like a madwoman for the first several years. Miel was already a successful blogger (earning $2k per month at the time) and had convinced me when I started that I needed to write a post every day in order to be taken seriously and have any earning potential. So, I diligently cranked out twenty posts a month writing almost every evening. I was determined to prove that I could be a professional blogger, and I do think that some of my best posts were published before I ever had many readers (We have 418 posts and another 80 in draft form!)…I still need to find a way to share our archive better…here are my favorite dozen posts from the first year.
Looking back I have no idea how I managed it to create/maintain such creative stamina (blogging really does take a lot of creative juice). Especially during a time when I was out the door at seven in the morning to bus/bike to office and up on my laptop late several nights a week blogging. Kevin thought I was crazy, and his doubtfulness has been a source contention/frustration (he’s only ever read a handful of posts).
Yet, for as much as I’ve written, I feel like it’s taken me five years to truly find my voice. In my first year I blogged under the alias “Green Mama” and was honestly terrified of criticism. I started off declaring my desire to save up $7500 for a family trip to Denmark fearing that people would label me an elitist for having such a frivolous financial goal. Then we unexpectedly inherited what felt like a shitload of money and I seriously questioned whether I could continue to write for a blog where I no longer felt like my readers might not relate me once I wasn’t a so-called struggling working mama (all the struggle does continue, just in a slightly different income bracket with a few family businesses to manage on top of it all!). Next we somehow manifested our dream beach cabins, and then I planned my exodus from full time public service to become a Certified Mama Bliss Life Coach. Yet, lately we’ve gone to feeling nearly broke and sharing about our family finances has continues to require some serious “courage in action” (one of my favorite mantras that I use as I publish a post or send an important email).
In revamping our blog, Miel began writing together with me (yay!) and we went out on a limb and shared literally every Money Story we could recall in an effort to clear our subconscious from the money baggage we all carry. And yet, I’ll speak for Miel as well, we’ve both struggled to fully share our current money stories. It’s partly because our lives have been moving at such a fast pace in recent months (Miel moved across the country and landed her dream job, and I’ve been busy launching my coaching practice, and we’ve taken on fully managing our beach cabins…) Our lives seem to be happening so fast that it’s hard to keep up, let alone post blogs in a timely manner.
And, yet, Miel and I are ready to really dig deep in order to finally bring ourselves (and this blog) into our full blossoming potential. Here’s our plan:
- Divulge Our Net Worth – Miel was one of the first financial bloggers to start sharing her net worth publicly (nine years ago). Money is still taboo in our socio-economic circles, and she was in fact very bold to publish her private finances. I remember having conversations with close friends/family who were aghast that Miel would both share her net worth and her desire to become a millionaire. In starting this blog, I had several conversations with Miel about how essentially “there was no way in hell” and Kevin and I would share our net worth publicly. Yet, I’ve come to realize that I/we need to be fully conscious of our finances in order to create our future financial dreams. So, we will both start posting our net worth every quarter.
- Be Truly Authentic About Our Finances – Just knowing/sharing our net worth is not going to help us reach our financial dreams though. We’ve come to realize after being truly honest in sharing our money stories that it somehow feels harder to be authentic about our current financial stories. It’s partly because we each face frustrations at different levels (This past fall we dealt with fraud, Miel getting her stuff stolen, bouncing the cabin bank account, plus the expense of Miel’s maternity leave/move, trying to afford a nanny, oh and Miel’s new dream job meant a 50% pay cut). So, our lives are simply filled with blog fodder, but we’ve both felt challenged by how to share our stories when they feel so raw and personal. So far we’ve tried to be a resource to our readers, but in truth generic and impersonal advice is just that, generic and impersonal. We hope that by being truly authentic we’ll finally be able to connect at a deep level with you, our readers (Please, people can you finally show us some love and start to comment?!).
- Hold Each Other Accountable – But we’ve come to agree that sharing our net worth and the complicated feelings is the only way to hold each other accountable. It’s really helpful to have a look-alike to mirror your desires and fears, and we indeed to push each other into full bloom.
- Manifesting Our Dreams – We’re also going to go out on a limb and start sharing about our next financial dreams and the steps we’re each taking to manifest them. While we are starting with different lifestyles/finances, we still have very similar dreams (like retiring part time in Hawaii). Even though we may face some critics, we are excited to fully embrace our ability to create the reality we envision for ourselves.
- Giving Back – Miel and I are both very passionate about giving back, both locally and internationally. I’ve been a Rotarian for three years now, and Miel followed suit not long after (We’re very excited now that we can attend the same weekly meetings in the Pearl). She’s now a two-time Paul Harris Fellow (which I’m admittedly a little jealous about, and plan to catch up as soon as I can…). When I was working at the City, I was donating to five organizations I think do great work: Rotary International, Friends of Trees, Oregon Environmental Council, Mackenzie River Trust, and International Medical Corps (where Miel used to work). I also started my own Kiva Experiment when we received our inheritance. Recently I gave a spare $20 to Green Empowerment, since I couldn’t help but support Miel’s new amazing work. Plus, we’ve been tithing to our church, Grace Memorial Episcopal, for several years (although in December we did suspend our donation until we can afford it again). In the end Miel and I truly believe that our work and our money will make the world a better place.
- Divesting From Carbon & Becoming Carbon Neutral – As long time readers know, I’m actually more passionate about environmental sustainability than finances (Part of my challenge initially was that I focused more on sustainable family lifestyle post than on actual finances…but I digress again). So, for as much as I’m excited to finally embrace our finances (as a means to creating our dreams), I’m also still deeply passionate about doing everything we can to slow global warming. In first launching this blog, we did a lot of home/family sustainability projects, but I’ve kind of plateaued. Just last week the founder of 350.org came to talk to our Portland Pearl Rotary Club. While I had organized a community event (planting natives at a park that I helped create), I’ve mostly been an on/off online activist lately. So, when he talked about the need to divest from carbon, it really resonated with me as the obvious next step for me to take action on. I’ve also had the desire to become carbon neutral for a long time (I blogged early on about calculating our carbon footprint). Every time I made a pot of Portland Coffee Roasters and see the carbon neutral label, it gives me a big smile. Also, Miel’s nonprofit, Green Empowerment, made the same commitment to lead the carbon shift. I saved this goal for last, because I know it’s the most long term goal. But we are in this for the long haul. Five years has felt like a blip, and we’re excited to walk our talk by making these commitments.
So, whether this is the first post you’re reading of ours or you’ve been following us for years, we’re happy you’re here with us. We look forward to engaging our readers with truly authentic posts that will bring us all closer and closer to our financial dreams. 🙂 🙂
Darcy (and Miel)
PS A side note: I do still feel shame around the fact that date this blog has earned very little, and was told long ago that blog that doesn’t earn money is either a hobby or a charity. Meanwhile I didn’t want to “sell my soul” by writing posts to please an advertiser. So, we are finally ready to start partnering with sponsors who resonate with our message and simply want to support us in reaching our readers.