UPDATE: I am no longer active in Second Life. If you meet anyone in SL who claims to be me, please ignore them!
It’s been a while since I’ve actually written a full article here on my website. While enjoying a glass of sparkling grape juice and flipping through some Second Life magazines this morning, I suddenly felt the urge to write again. Various distractions have stopped me from focusing on specific topics so I have once again turned to OmmWriter for some peace and quiet while I write this article.
As you may have noticed, I’ve checked myself into Linden Lab in San Francisco via Foursquare just the other day. Truth be told, I just did that to give you guys an indication of which time-zone I currently operate in. I am actually still physically sitting at my family home in Johannesburg, South Africa but my virtual Avatar is in fact roaming the servers of Linden Lab. My life is a Second Life. While some may feel that such a virtual lifestyle is an escape from reality or nothing more than a massive multiplayer role-playing game, I feel quite the opposite and would like to share my thoughts with you here today as to why exactly I have chosen to live this lifestyle.
Second Life is not a game or a 3D chat room, it is a complete lifestyle that can best be described as, or roughly compared to popular movies such as Avatar, Gamer and Surrogates. To further elaborate on exactly how I feel about living this virtual lifestyle I’m going to quote directly from the Surrogates movie script:
“The ability to leave your home without risk of disease or injury, to have perfect looks without trips to the gym or plastic surgery. – Right now we are witnessing an event that is of evolutionary significance. The things that were once unimaginable have become inevitable. – We are the creators.”
Having a Second Life is very much like owning a “surrogate.” In this world anything is possible and you can go anywhere and do anything without any physical risk to your personal well-being. You can also do things which are impossible to accomplish in the real world. In the virtual world we are not constrained by natural laws such as gravity or bodily needs such as rest or hunger. You can log in from your couch, still wearing your pajamas with messy hair and at the same time be taking part in a professional business meeting or a grid-wide beauty pageant on a platform hovering in mid air with people flying and teleporting in from all locations to join the occasion. Getting tired or hungry in the real world? Log off, eat something, take a nap, or snack behind your computer while you’re logged in at a virtual club or busy surfing the crisp virtual waves of the Second Life seas. Can’t find something you’re looking to do, see, own, wear, attend or operate? Create it, or hire someone who can. Your only constraint or limitation is that of your imagination.
This is why I choose to live a Second Life, spending the majority of my day in the safety and comfort of my own home while still living a full and happy life with many others from all over the globe who feel the same way. I’m not in Second Life because I have no real life or friends to hang out with in the real world. I am on Second Life because I choose to not go clubbing or shopping for outrageous items in the real world. I am in Second Life because I choose to hang out with virtual friends instead of real friends, for no matter to where I physically relocate, I can always log in and still have the very same friends, business partners, and experiences.
In my mind, a Second Life is a stable life, free from the dangers that you would face if you happen to do the same outrageous things in the real world. It is however important to have a stable real life, or first life before you can entirely immerse yourself in a Second Life – For there to be a second, there must be a first. Some may have concern that eventually the Second Life would entirely consume the first. I’ve heard of many people who lost their jobs and partners due to spending too much time in Second Life but on the contrary I’ve heard of many more who have become so successful in Second Life that it enhanced and enriched their first life, both financially and emotionally. I too, am working toward that enrichment.
Some Second Life residents choose to remain completely anonymous. While I completely understand and respect while some people would like to hide their Second Life events or appearance from the real world and vice-versa, I personally have no problem with sharing any information about either. Because I see Second Life as a complete lifestyle and an extension of my real life, not just a role-playing game. I am who I am both in the real and in the virtual world. Now you may be wondering, where does this leave my real world friends, family, business partnerships and love life?
I would conduct business as usual – after all, there has to be a first life in order to maintain a second until the second is strong enough to maintain the first. If my real life family were to join Second Life, I would consider them my Second Life family. My real life boyfriend is also my partner in Second Life. As for those with whom I have become really close in Second Life such as my virtual friends and family, I consider them as friends in the real world and would treat them no different if we were to ever physically meet in-person. And business, well… Business is business and you’re dealing with the real David Venter whether you’re conducting business with me in the real world or in Second Life.
After re-reading parts of this article I’ve come to realize that it may seem as though I have given up on attempting to achieve great things in the real world due to my virtual lifestyle. While I may be suffering some depression at the moment, I still have many plans, hopes and dreams to accomplish in the real world and I will never stop working towards them. To me my first and my Second Life is one and the same and I give sufficient effort and energy in both to not only ensure survival but also nourish growth and future success.
Thank you for reading this article about some of the reasons why I choose to live a virtual lifestyle in Second Life and I hope that you found it interesting and informative. I may continue this article with a second part or series as I delve deeper into myself to find more reasons for my choice and obsession.
If you are also living a virtual life in Second Life I would like to hear your “why” – Please comment below or email your story via the Contact Page, I would also gladly accept any guest post requests on the topic. Click here to get in touch.
If you’re not a Second Life resident, please do look me up should you decide to cross the line and take the plunge into Second Life.