What’s Happened To The Happy Rock?

by The Happy Rock on April 7, 2010

Anyone who checks in regularly can tell that things have been shriveling around here for months.  I know it is not out of the ordinary for a blog to disappear into the internet graveyard with barely a whimper, but I still really like this blog and thought things needed a little bit of an explanation.

The New Red Huffy

the-new-kids-bikePicture a 4 year tearing the wrapping paper from a brand new bike on Christmas morning.  He jumps for joy and hugs anyone in sight.  He rushes out  and spends some time learning how to ride.  He is grateful for the training wheels as he totters around for the first few months.  He spends the next year riding his bike everywhere.  He can’t walk out the door without trying to convince his parents to let him go for a little ride.  It is even cute watching him try and convince people who have no interest in biking how great it is.

Gradually though the circumstances begin to change.  He gets older and bigger.   The bike starts to get a little rusty and just doesn’t fit as well as before.  New toys, friends, hobbies, and responsibilities enter into the picture and in a few years the bike just sits around and collects rust.  He occasionally watches kids on their bikes zoom down the street laughing, doing cool tricks, and getting air of sweet jumps, but it only moves him to lament rather than to action.

Eventually one spring Thursday his dad puts the bike out to the curb for donation pickup.  The son sees the bike in its sad shape and all the memories come rushing back.   He argues with his dad to keep the bike, but his father knows that it will just be right back in the shed.  Dad lovingly suggests three options.  They could take the next few weekends and work on a special father and son project together where they would clean the rust off the bike, replace some parts, and take off the training wheels. The bike would then be ready to be useful for the next few years.  The other options are to give the bike to someone who would love it like he used too or let it rust away in a landfill in Topeka.

the-old-kids-bike-trashThat is where I am at.  A lot has changed since I started this blog. I have become 100% debt, adopted two children, sold a house and moved, finished my MBA and grown quit a bit.    Things look much different than they did three years ago and I am asking much different questions in my life:

  • Three years ago we were fanatic about getting out of debt and were a few months away from kicking $70,000 of debt to the curb.   Early on I was eager to write about debt reduction and those type of thoughts swirled around in my head constantly.  After the debt was gone and I had an emergency fund, I had a hard time writing about that stuff with a fresh perspective.  Now, money isn’t an issue.  It is amazing how much things looks different with absolutely no debt, 1.5 salaries, and safety cash.  You are free to move wherever you want or take whatever job regardless of pay.  You can start asking the Why questions of life rather than being stuck on the How questions like how to I make more money or get out of debt.  It is an awesome yet uncomfortable place to be.
  • Before I was asking how do I create a successful blog and make some money off of it, but now my question is what purpose is the blog serving in my life and in yours. I was more focused on gaining readers, not losing readers, making money, and trying to “figure out blogging”.    I don’t feel that is authentic enough anymore.  It doesn’t really connect with where I am in my journey and it doesn’t connect me to people on similar journey’s.  Before I was around motivated folks in my MBA program and other debt destroyers that helped encourage me to stick with it.  Once they were gone and I moved on but I didn’t forge any relationships for the next stage in my journey.
  • My Christian faith is the thing I think about most and I barely ever mentioned it.   The blog was meant to help people out of debt, but it really only ended up being something I wanted to succeed at. Fear of alienating people and losing readers kept me from including it in the discussion in any meaningful way.  I was probably scared, who knows, but I often wanted to connect with people on that level.  This blog was my primary means of expression and pouring my energy and heart into money and life hacks just to create a semi-successful blog is not an authentic experience.  Articles weren’t designed to connect with people they are created to be ‘successful’.  That is passion draining rather than inspiring for me.
  • I haven’t posted anything meaningful in months and I don’t think I haven’t gotten a single email asking about why.    I don’t say that to make you feel guilty or conger up pity, but the sad fact is that I wrote OK articles but I wasn’t connecting with anyone.   Now I feel a drawn towards forming deeper and more meaningful relationships.   I want people to matter.  Not in a distant 3rd person way that let’s me execute my plan to be comfortable and safe without ever having to really get involved.    Detached, very comfortable, and debt free isn’t enough.  It is time to figure out how to get my hands dirty and face some fears.

Now don’t read this wrong, I am very grateful for the paths that have led to this point.  I thank the readers for stopping by and being a part of things. The experience I gained is invaluable and it is was a blast most of time.   The question is…now what?    Do I clean off the rust and change things so that they can meet the demands of the next stage of life’s journey or do I take all the growth and knowledge and pure it into bigger and better things?   I leaning towards tailoring the blog’s direction to be more authentic and true to my journey and away from being aimed to please Sitemeter and Google.  I just don’t know exactly what that looks like…

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Money Beagle April 7, 2010 at 7:28 am

I went through a dry spell last year where I sort of lost my motivation and considered folding up my blog altogether. I didn’t and have since re-discovered my passion for it. I think you still have a lot to teach and share, but it’s your call on whether you want to do that and how. Either way you have to do it for you.

As far as not getting any e-mails about being away, I think that’s probably due to the fact that a lot of us probably read a lot of blogs, so we don’t notice the absence but we definitely notice when the absence goes away. I wouldn’t necessarily take that as a sign that you weren’t writing articles that connected.


Andrea April 7, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Oh, I realized you were not posting but semed to recall reading that you were in school, knew you have a family and a life. For those reasons alone, I was not surprised to see your blogging slow to a crawl and come to a dead stop.

That said, I do think you have a lot to offer in your writing. You’re in a place so few people get…happy, debt free and feeling good about what you are doing. Nothing says you can not weave that into this blog and keep people plugged into keeping their eye on that debt-free lifestyle while living their life. It is what I am doing with my young children and I visit sites like yours to remind myself of the important things in my life and the need for me to keep focused and steady in my quest to stay debt free. (A disclaimer…I should say almost debt free…I am paying down a mortgage in a house we just won’t sell.)

Best of luck whatever your path.

Be well.


Money Funk April 7, 2010 at 6:13 pm

Oh, I understand where you are coming from. At this time, I am at a point where I question my blog and its continuity. I begin to feel i want to develop relationships with people in life that are actually standing in front of me. And renew those relationships with my family.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my online relationships with people. and have made great virtual friends. But sometimes, I think I hide away in my blog and all its hard work. And that I might be missing out on things in front and around me.

I wish you the best of luck with your decision. It one only you can make. But just so you know, when I started my journey to pay down debt… your blog was very influential to me. So, you did connect with many people. 😀


Steve April 8, 2010 at 1:12 pm

You know what I enjoyed your early posting and noticed you lost motivation and am glad you are moving to something you are passionate about because you were fading. I don’t mean that as an insult I think i will follow your blog as long as you are passionate about what you write. There is not a way to turn back from this. you need to do what you need to do.


karen604 April 8, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Your last paragraph makes me sad. Life gets to change points but they are evolution, not revolution. Changes in your life should make you happy. Strive to see that everyday is a day you are eager to get up an start.

What you do next month may not even be on today’s radar. For instance 15+ years ago roughing it for me was a Motel 6 with the TV on the blitz. My sons wanted Boy Scouts. I can pitch a tent and build a campfire with the best of them. I also got the opportunity to bond with my sons in a very special way.

Just remember to find who is important to you and evolve based on that.


The Happy Rock April 9, 2010 at 12:34 am

@MoneyBeagle – It is encouraging to here that you got you groove back. As far as not connecting, I agree a lot of us are busy, but real connecting and being another somewhat interesting voice in the crowd are different to me.

@Andrea – Thanks for the words and congratulations on the almost debt free. I agree that going forward I would have to try and connect with people from a fresh perspective and see if there is an audience for it.

@MoneyFunk – Nice perspective. “Hiding away in your blog” and the hard work is a really interesting way to put. Blogging makes you feel like you are doing something important, yet it might be causing you to miss out on things that are even more important. Thanks for the encouragement.

@Steve – No insult taking and thanks for sticking around. Hopefully the passionate fresh stuff that I pray is coming will help you along the way.


Mick@ Mortgage Deals Help April 10, 2010 at 3:49 pm

I think generally it’s important to take stock, adjust and maybe divert to a new direction. As long as the motives are not for just gain(which they are not) then you must be doing the right thing.


Jacquelin April 11, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Don’t second guess what’s in your own heart-listen to it-isn’t that where God usually talks to us?


BFNJohn April 14, 2010 at 11:48 pm

I think I can commiserate a little with how you are feeling. I’ve been going through a similar phase for a while now. Lately, I’ve just decided that I would shift the focus of my blog a bit and hit more overtly on the spiritual aspects of money and finances. If you feel like you’re being led a certain way, you should go for it. It might not sound like the way to appease sitemeter, but you never know with these things….maybe that’s exactly what you need to do. Whatever you decide – best of luck!
BTW, you going to see Tim Hawkins over in Mount Laurel in June?


The Happy Rock April 15, 2010 at 12:35 am

Thanks John,

As far as a niche for spirituality and money there is definitely a nice niche there, although I am not sure I want to tackle a niche. I think the blog most be a secondary part of my journey not a primary focus.

Not sure I have heard of Tim Hawkins.


ed April 16, 2010 at 12:00 pm

I’d like to hear about what you do with all the money that you used to send to debtors. Where are the best places to put it…(I don’t have the stomach to be a day-trader)


Dawnaurora April 27, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Hello, Thanks so much for your heart felt post. That would be a great twist on keeping debt free from a Christian standpoint. I would enjoy your advice immensely.


Guy G. April 27, 2010 at 10:28 pm

I think it’s been almost a year since I last visited your blog. It’s interesting that the first post I read is about personal change, struggle and purpose. I’m in the process of writing a post on personal development for another personal finance blog that has me really thinking. What is it I want? How bad do I want it? and, Am I willing to do whatever it takes so long as it’s moral, legal and ethical to make sure it happens.

We actually felt directionless in late August last year. Things didn’t seem clear until after a vacation we felt was needed. It sounds like the time away to gather your thoughts was all you needed.

Welcome back, and look forward to getting to know you more and who knows, maybe we could work together in the future as well.



Pete May 15, 2010 at 9:35 pm

I can see your point. Life goes, things change and some things interesting at the time somehow loose focus on the way…
I was in the same situation a year and a half ago, I spend almost four years working on a online project. I had a lot of fun on the way and no matter what reasons I using to excuse myself the real one was that I wanted to succeed with it. Time passed a lot of things happened in my life(got married, moved countries for good etc) and the point somehow lost focus, even though the project was already working by itself i couldn’t see myself doing it anymore. I was wondering what to do and for me the right decision was “give the bike to someone who would love it”


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