Early yesterday morning my blog site probaway.wordpress.com had a failure of some sort. Being an everyday blogger, and going for five years one month and eleven days without missing a single day, I was shocked at the possibilities of what the loss would mean to me.
This blogging all began when I decided to try it for one month, more or less as a New Year’s resolution, and at the end of the month to reanalyze the value of writing a daily blog. I did, and still do, find blogging a bit difficult, but there was the experience of getting some ideas straightened out in my head. Writing clarifies what one is thinking about, and it goes much deeper than the words that end up on the page. There are alternate thoughts that spring to mind and then get rejected, and other ideas that come to mind that are way off the subject, and other ideas that are good, but they don’t fit into the current flow. It all comes out on the screen, and then it’s what’s there that gets resorted and rewritten.
Writing my usual essay is a bit formulaic, in that I first think of an idea I want to pursue, sometimes taking it from my notebook which I carry in my breast pocket all the time, and sometimes from a book or magazine article I am currently reading, and sometimes from a conversation held in the previous few days, but usually it is from my current thoughts about a problem that is bothering me on some level.
It all ended abruptly when my WordPress blog simply went blank. All day it was blank and no matter what I did it was still blank. Thinking that five years of my thoughts were suddenly gone was a bit stressful. There are a lot of ideas on there that I like to refer back to in my writing of new posts. For it to have vanished would be similar to dying. Searching the internet for other people having this problem just made me anxious, so it seemed either they would fix the problem and everything would return to normal, or they wouldn’t and I would have to start doing something else. I did do a backup several months ago, but I have no idea how comprehensive that was, but I will do another one very soon. I hadn’t been too concerned, because WordPress claims to have multiple backups on their entire site, some of them at hidden sites. I hope so!
Anyway, throughout the day I went into a mode of accepting the total vanishing of my site. It wasn’t all that stressful, not nearly so bad as I thought it might be, and I just started thinking about what I ought to do with my newly granted freedom. I didn’t have to write a blog, like I sort of promised myself, but could strike out on something totally different. One thing is different now, and that is that I am a more developed person. It may not be obvious to anyone else but me, but I have grown in my outlook toward my life and more importantly toward the life of humanity. When conversing with people in ways that would have interested me a few years ago, because the subject was inherently interesting, I now move to a point where the subject must be developmentally advanced in some way. If the subject isn’t moving into a meaningfully advanced and useful realm then there is a real urge to move on.
The book by George Vaillant (principal investigator of the Grant Study), Aging Well: Surprising Guideposts to a happier life from the landmark Harvard study of Adult Development, has been useful because he has tracked large numbers of people for most of their entire lives and he can now say with evidence to back up his claims what works for creating a successful life with a happy old age, and what generally leads to failed life and an unhappy old person. It isn’t what one would think, until you understand the results, and then it is obvious. Longitudinal studies tend to ruin pet theories. Some things leading to a good life are remarkably easy to do and other things, which seem like a great way to live, generally lead to disaster, but are easy to avoid.
Because I was reading this book when WordPress seemingly made void my last five years of work, I was able to cope in a more mature way. Actually, my coping strategies are good, but this was a very sobering experience.
Thankfully, the good people at WordPress were able to fix the problem.