“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”
― Marthe Troly-Curtin, Phrynette Married
Thank you for this lovely thought, Madame Troly-Curtin, because there are some of us Second Lifers who feel we spend far too much time in our virtual world, and we appreciate your assurances. The key word in this quotation is “enjoy”. How many of us can say we explicitly enjoy Second Life enough to justify our time investment?
Discovery and Adventure
Well, the awe I feel when I stumble upon an impossible and fantastical place in SL, the intensity of emotion I feel about those I love here, the thrill of creating something or of marveling about the profound creative talents of others– these distill into a sense ofdiscovery and adventure, which I do find extremely enjoyable. Those times, however, are fewer and fewer, and I find my time in SL is often “wasted” (as in bored and thus unenjoyable) time. So I log in less often.
Are there no more impossible and fantastical destinations in Second Life? Of course there are–fewer perhaps, but there are still amazing places built by our fellow residents and time-wasters. There are art installations that defy time and space, courtesy of the imaginations of SL artists and fellow time-wasters. Instead of moaning about boredom, perhaps I should seek out theses places just as I did when I was new (insert nostalgic sentiment about the good old days here!). Or even build one myself. Look out, 2013.
What about emotional intensity: am I tired of it? Afraid of it? Has it disappeared from inventory…? It is true that a long-time relationship ended this past year and left me stranded and afraid. For me there are few worse scenarios than this: alone and isolated in RL, I log into SL and find myself alone and twice as miserable. This discourages me from coming online. But I am wrong, because, whatever your reasons for being in Second Life, one of mine has been to feel things intently and to live fearlessly. I lead a sheltered life in the real world; I often feel emotionally stunted, so the connections I’ve made in SL–close friendships, loves and yes, hates–are important to me. Pain and loss are as much a part of a rich emotional life as love and pleasure. Welcome to the real world of feelings, Buttercup, which you found in a virtual world. Now deal.
The thrill of creation, and the thrill of discovering creative talents among my fellow time-wasters, never gets old. Describing Second Life as a place where “anything is possible” has become a cliché, but of course it is true. This thrill, more than anything, keeps me coming back day after day, year after year.
Discovery and adventure: surely the essence of any worthwhile game. In most games, these challenges are provided for us. In Second Life, if there is a game, we are the game.
I have seen the game, and it is us!
Happy New Year, everybody:
“It’s never too late… to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”
― Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button screenplay
Also published in slum magazine.
Photo locations: Kolor Studio (top), Tempura (bottom).