Many people prefer to refer to the world outside sl as ‘first life’ – a logical reasoning that if our virtual world is ‘second’ life, then the world on the other side of the keyboard is our ‘first’ life – normally this is a convention that i tend to resist – i much prefer to use the term ‘real life’ for the real world, but i know that some would take issue with that on the basis that sl is every bit as real as that other place. Semantics aside, the first life/second life approach does tend to put a fairly important fact into perspective: in the hierarchy of existences, the real, physical, tangible life in which we breathe, eat and sleep, will always come first. SL is, and always will be, at best, in second place.
Even if we were in the dubiously fortunate position of being logged in to sl, 24/7/365, our real, first life would still call the shots… for many, there are work commitments which may drag us away from the virtual world for long hours at a stretch; there are families who place demands on our time, housework and shopping to be done and the physical needs of our rather fragile bodies to be attended to. There are times when the spirit may be willing, but the flesh simply isn’t up to logging in, no matter how much we may want to.
Then there are the irritating distractions of our first lives. This past fortnight, my time has not been my own – compelled to give up my leisure time to forge ahead with an assignment has meant changed priorities; the blog has been in suspended animation, the time i’ve managed to get onto sl has been brief, and when i do, i’ve been too brain dead to enjoy myself – it has been, at best, highly unsatisfactory, and the knowledge that i’ve more of the same to go through before Christmas is upon us doesn’t particularly fill me with seasonal cheer!
It’s not only the big things that intrude – a lot of us have busy lives that require us to juggle our time between priorities – have you ever noticed how many people seem to multi-task whilst inworld? Cooking the family meal is often combined with socialising online with friends, and how often have you seen, “Got to go – dinner’s ready!”? Then there are the worrying – although probably inconsequential – occasions when people get ‘called away’ or exclaim “got to go” and poof immediately… we wonder what dire occurrence has suddenly occurred to drag them from the virtual world, when in reality it’s probably nothing more serious than somebody at the door, or a spouse unable to find their socks. We forget that sl comes second in the grand scheme of things, often to the point that when rl does intrude, we resent it and somehow feel that it’s unjustified.
It can be annoying when rl intrudes – particularly when sl may be our escape from the real world; to be reminded that, even with the best will in the world, we can’t simply closet ourselves away and switch off the world outside our computer screens – no matter how immersed we may become in our second life, our first life – our first priority – is always going to be lurking in wait for us, ready to trip us up and irritate the hell out of us. No matter how hard we may try, the plaintive cry of “Lucy’s fallen down the stairs again”, the inevitable, “Have you seen my tartan shirt?”, or the smell of burning fish fingers is always going to break our reverie.
Life’s a bitch, eh?
No need to run and hide
It’s a wonderful, wonderful life
Black – Wonderful Life