Sometimes things fall apart.
You own and care for something long enough, and things are bound to wear out or the odds catch up with you and it breaks.
For me, it’s been a week of broken things.
I’ve been blogging for decades. I don’t even recall the first platform I used (before they even called it blogging), but I remember switching to Blogger back when it first launched and being so excited about how easy it had become. Then Blogger began allowing customization, and then they allowed it to be embedded on a site you hosted yourself — and with each advancement came the choice between keeping things the same or breaking them in order to break through to the next (better) iteration.
Fast forward through the years and you come to the point where Blogger would no longer allow updates through third-parties and off-site hosting, and users had to either come back to the Blogger site to host their blog or break with them and find another option.
It was at that point that I chose WordPress.
Friends who were better at web design than me told me of its customization options, but I didn’t want to take the time to learn something new because I’d been so adept at making Blogger do things no one else could do — but that option was gone. I bit the bullet and learned enough WordPress to build my first site.
Jump forward a few more years and several dontheideaguy.com redesigns later and I ended up with a version that I was comfortable with and liked. I’ve had pretty much the same design for three to five years at this point. Which means it was of course time for things to break.
A couple weeks back something went wonky with the most recent WordPress update on this website. I struggled through trying to get it to work, but to no avail. All the image features had stopped working and it took a time consuming workaround to get even a large graphic to display in a post, and thumbnail images were just about impossible. I was trying to figure out a solution with the help my my hosting company, but then the sub-pages of the site vanished. You couldn’t click through to a Contact page or the Speaker info page, or my newsletter sign-up page.
It was time to break it again.
I backed-up what I could of as many past posts as possible and reformatted the entire hosting account. I reinstalled WordPress from scratch, reinstalled the template I’d been using and setup all the customization from the beginning. I was able to reimport the majority of the articles, but for some reason there was just no coming back from the issue with the lost images. I have almost all the text entries, but virtually none of the images within the blog posts transferred. I reimported the images from a few of the most recent articles, but older posts will simply have to make-do without the accompanying graphics. I may decide to go back and add in images for the most popular articles (along with a few of my personal favorite posts), but I’ve simply accepted the fact that the old version was broken so that I could break through to the new things to come.
How about you?
What have you been clinging so tightly to that it’s really time you allowed it to break? What has been duct taped so often that it looks like it’s made of metal? What process has so many workarounds that no one can recall the original way it was supposed to work?
…and then break through.