The Waxing and Waning of our Second Lives

October 3, 2008 at 5:38 pm (Life, Relationships, Second Life, Second Life addiction) (, )

I feel obligated to apologize for the slow trickle of blog posts from me over the last couple months. I’m not one to offer lame excuses for my lack of compelling content. But actually this is exactly what I wanted to talk about today. Over the last couple months my real life has gotten astonishingly busy. [incidentally I’ve thought a lot about the use of “1st life” vs. “real life” as an antonym to Second Life and I feel compelled to continue to use the expression RL, if simply to remind us all that yes, this life our flesh is living is real, the second one is not.] I barely have enough time to squeeze in the normal obligations of life every day, much less to pump energy into a second one.

So my beautiful house stands vacant on the beach, the wind–if there was any on SL–tosses my curtains around gently and the soothing sounds of waves bounce off my empty walls. I’m not there to enjoy the World->Environmental Settings->Sunset. And my mailbox is constantly overflowing with junk mail–I mean important group announcements for events I won’t attend. Has this ever happened to you? You find your free time gobbled up by the daily routine and soon your once smoldering Second Life screeches to a shocking halt.

Or perhaps my schedule hasn’t changed all that much. Maybe I’ve just noticed that SL has lost a bit of its luster. The list of events seems surprisingly similar to the list I looked at last night and the night prior. The little dings of chats that once poured in by the bucketful have dwindled. The mediocrity of some of the SL musicians has me clutching my ears begging to make it stop. And even the farthest reaches of the most fabulous sims seem, well, stale.

Ok, so honestly it’s probably a little bit of both. But what I’ve learned lately is that our engagements in our Second Lives wax and wane like the monthly metamorphosis of our moon–that is, if we’re healthy. Where I was once sad when I found a friend had disappeared for stretches of time I realize now that they were just taking care of business. Real life needs work. And if we’re engaged in a second–or fantasy–life too deeply, we’re most certainly depriving the roots of our real existence of the most essential and rich nutrients required for us to grow and flourish.

I realize there are many of us whose lives are so painful we retreat into our Second LIves to simply give us some room to breathe. I get that. Although I’d like to suggest even those of us in this situation take a long look at some solid steps–even if they are baby steps–we can take to make real changes in the lives we hide from.

So in the spirit of finding balance, why not take this moment to think of five other things you could do besides sit at your computer staring at your avatar as he or she gallops around the grid. If you don’t like TV, find some new books to read, call an old friend you haven’t spoken to in awhile, or make a cup of hot tea and just sit calmly. Because Second Life can be fun, when played in moderation. It can also be dangerously all-consuming. And when that happens, my friends, we run the risk of losing what’s most important to us: our real selves.

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