Today I learned a lesson about impatience. I can’t say I particularly wanted to learn any lessons today – especially those of the time-consuming variety! – but my eager carelessness managed to take precedence over caution and deliberation, and learn I did.
You know the saying, “There’s never enough time to do it right, but there’s always enough time to do it over”? That was me today.
So what happened?
Well, because I recently decided to blog under my real name instead of a pseudonym, I thought that in order to avoid confusion for my readers I’d go through my blog and replace any references to Dawn Storey with Laurel Regan. (Wasn’t that thoughtful of me?!) Knowing that there would be thousands of such references, primarily in my replies to the comments that readers had made on my posts, I went on a hunt for a “Search and Replace” WordPress plugin that would automate the job.
Great idea, right?
Well, it was a great idea. And it would have been an even better idea if a) I’d followed the plugin creator’s warning to back up my blog’s database before using the plugin, and b) I’d gone through each of the plugin’s search/replace options one by one instead of doing a blanket search and replace ALL.
But I was impatient, and wanted it done NOW, so I proceeded without caution. I told the plugin to find ALL references to “Dawn Storey” (not just the ones in my comment replies, as I should have done) and replace them with “Laurel Regan” – then sat back and waited for a couple of minutes while the plugin did its thing. Once the process was complete I excitedly loaded my blog to take a look… and was faced with a completely blank page. No more Alphabet Salad.
Time to panic!
I frantically went back to the plugin and ran the same operation in reverse – find all references to “Laurel Regan” and replace them with “Dawn Storey” – hoping desperately that this would undo whatever horrible programming mess I had created. Much to my relief when I went back to my blog, I saw that it had worked!
At least, I thought it had worked.
It had mostly worked, except that for some reason beyond my extremely limited – no, non-existent – programming knowledge, several of the widgets in my sidebar had completely disappeared and ALL of my footer widgets were gone… poof.
I will admit that some tears of frustration were shed, some hair-pulling ensued, and some angry words and names were spoken. I realized immediately that because I just couldn’t wait a few minutes until I’d backed up my blog, and because I couldn’t be bothered to take the time to go through the options one by one and see if I actually needed to run the plugin on every option, I would now have to spend far more time restoring everything back to the way it was supposed to be than I would have spent on the original task if I’d just been patient in the first place.
Thankfully, I was smart enough not to make the same mistake twice. Once I’d dried my tears, forgiven myself, and laboriously gone through the blog to fix everything that I’d managed to wreck, I took the time to make a backup before running the plugin once more. And this time, when I ran the plugin, I only did the search and replace on my blog’s comments.
Success! And lesson learned.
I know that sometimes being spontaneous and impetuous is actually a good thing. Life doesn’t always need to be overthought and planned and pre-programmed down to the last detail. Today I learned that what’s important is having the wisdom to know when throwing caution to the wind is OK, and when being careful is the more prudent option.
Here’s hoping I won’t have to learn this lesson again.