I am using a theme named Glen, currently, and I discovered by chance yesterday that Automattic (the company that owns WordPress.com has retired it.
As long as I don’t change away from the theme then I can continue with it and it will continue to work. If I change away from it, then I will not be able to change back.
By the way, Llooking at various WordPress.com sites, you may have noticed sites that are using themes that were retired years ago – Cutline, Kubrick, and others.
So, back to the question of how investigate other themes than Glen without being unable to go back to Glen if none suit.
I asked a Happiness Engineer why the Glen theme had been retired. Was it, I asked, because it was not an Full Site Editing (FSE), Block theme? No, he said – there are various reasons themes are retired.
He then suggested that I could start a new free WP.com site expressly for the purpose of testing out themes. Yes, I had thought of that and it is a good suggestion. In fact I have done it in the recent past, just using a free site to play around with themes. That said, I have also noticed that sometimes a lot of redundant pages get added to the site, by which I mean several distinct copies of a home page, that kind of thing.
If that happens to you, just trash the pages you don’t want or need. But watch out that you trash the correct ones.
The bottom line is that nothing lives unless it is moving, and that is the driver for searching for new themes.
On the other hand, I am not that crazy about the range of options for making interesting headers with FSE. More practises needed…
Watch this space.