“Our dreams are a second life.” ~Gerard de Nerval
By Cat Boccaccio.
We are far enough into the New Year that many of us have already abandoned our NY resolutions and are back to eating chicken skin and bacon, and we rush home from an early morning run because “the wind changed”. And some say it is NOT a good idea to stop drinking for the month of January, so huh. So it’s mostly business as usual in RL. But what about Second Life?
Second Life has always struck me as a place where you break resolutions, not make them. In Second Life you can happily run around in a bikini or kilt or topless or bottomless; you give exactly zero effs about your appearance (since you always look just as stunning as you want, with no effort). You can stay up ’til all SL hours with crates of SL wine and kegs of SL beer and bypass the SL hangover. You can spend recklessly and still only be ten US dollars out. You can giggle at the existence of SL gyms as you float by on your free cloud unicorn, eating popcorn (despite the reports that virtual exercising actually does facilitate RL weight loss). Discipline is for dummies! Excess is excellent! Second Life mottoes to live by.
But what if we were to make an actual Second Life resolution, what would it be? How would we really like to change our behaviour and habits in SL for 2014?
Here’s a wee checklist of resolutions that I have been thinking of. Feel free to adopt any that apply!
–Be more creative. I take and manipulate Second Life photographs, for example, and sometimes I even put a few prims together. A while ago burn-out happened, and I set my SL camera into a drawer and, feeling exhausted, I was for the most part content to observe. It’s as if I think creativity is finite; that I used up my quota. But that’s impossible. If you have been following the Drax File posts in slum magazine, you may have got the message that it is possible for anyone to be creative in Second Life, whether it’s art, music, writing, or otherwise exercising your imagination. And I see so much inspiring work by Second Life artists that I feel like a lazy slug… it’s time to get back in the saddle, starting with taking some really questionable pics and throwing them on Flickr and being brave about it. Make it fun, like it used to be. Which brings me to…
–Stop taking everything so seriously. That does not mean a license to be disrespectful to others, it means stepping back from the virtual world and looking at it all with a little perspective. So that person sent you a wrong window when she said she was only IMing you: Call the FBI back and tell them to call off the investigation. So you turned up at the formal wedding in a leather jumpsuit and tango boobs: Tell the Fashion Police in your head to back off. So you heard a rumour that your SO was spotted dancing with Someone Who Is Not You: Crumple up that letter to Dear Abby and trash it. Relationships in Second Life are real, of course, and if someone truly hurts you, you have a right to be upset. But not because someone copied your hair style, even though she bought it at a store just like you did, and blah blah blah.
(…In other words, I resolve to stop taking myself so seriously.)
–Learn to sail.
–Go out more often. And I don’t mean to the same old club or the same old house or the same old plaza where your friends hang out. Second Life has shrunk a little, to be sure, but it is still an amazing adventure and there are cities and landscapes and galleries and immersive worlds to explore and admire. Check out blogs and mags, go to the SL website, and check out other people’s profile picks for ideas. I have a horrible vision of those little circles of friends you see in info hubs, chatting happily (often in voice), wearing clothes purchased from Marketplace and each trying to out-chat spam the other. They talk about nothing, contribute nothing, and are missing everything.
My tentative goals for Second Life, 2014. What are yours?
Striped outfit by BDR, from Marketplace.