Every so often, I have one of ‘those’ moments… one of those single grain of sand on an infinite beach moments, when I reflect on my life and my achievements and come to the unsatisfying and disappointing conclusion that it doesn’t really add up to very much at all. Following which, I then have one of those ‘other’ moments: Those clock is ticking and I’m not getting any younger, and there’s so much of the world I haven’t seen and things I haven’t done moments, and everything seems just that little bit more pointless.
To misquote Bogart in Casablanca, the problems of one little person don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world, (and we’re talking a pretty small hill – maybe one of those half size tins that are just enough for beans on toast when even Super Noodles seem too much work). Trying to gain some sort of perspective of our lives is frequently a pretty depressing exercise – to rather more accurately quote Douglas Adams: “If life is going to exist in a Universe of this size, then the one thing it cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion.”
I suppose much depends on how how you set your own personal goals, and here my advice would always be – for sanity’s sake – to make them as unattainable as possible. Forget SMART objectives because whilst they may make terribly good sense in the workplace, when it comes to setting life goals, it’s rarely that simple. I’d much prefer to aim to be rich and famous, with my own private island and fleet of Italian sports cars, knowing full well that the chances of getting there are pretty much nil, than set a reasonable objective that should be well within my grasp, and fail completely to achieve it. So set your sights high, because the sense of crippling failure you experience from abject inability to manage what those around you manage to breeze through, is seldom a rewarding experience.
This is a life lesson I’ve learned through bitter experience – having reasonable, attainable objectives hasn’t worked well for me and, indeed, I seem to be travelling backwards with regards to some measures… success, solvency, independence, satisfaction – many of which I’d probably assess myself as being in a less tenable position that I was in the past. C’est la vie.
No doubt, this is the point at which you are fairly confidently predicting that I’ll launch into a discourse something along the lines of, never mind all that – you can still have fame, fortune, success, private islands and sports cars in SL, even if RL has dealt you lemons. Er, no… Sorry to disappoint, but I’m not going to do that at all.
However, I do think there are things we can take away from SL that might assist us in dealing with some of the curve balls that RL throws in our direction. There are many aspects of the virtual world that are no different from the real world, however whilst we choose to rail and rage against the trials and injustices that RL deals us, when we’re on the receiving end of the virtual equivalent we take a much more pragmatic view, pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and get on with SLiving. Perhaps we can learn better how to deal with the real world by considering how we deal with those self-same issues when they arise in SL?
Here then are some home-truths that we all know about SL, most of us have experienced, and – having gone through them – have survived comparatively unscathed. Surely whatever we did right on those occasions will have some merit if we choose to follow the same process in the real world when faced with the equivalent RL circumstances?
- Some things we might be really good at, most things we will really suck at, and some things – no matter how much we might pretend to the contrary – we will never have any intention of truly having at go at;
- Some people – intentionally or otherwise – will be truly nasty to us, and we will not be able to avoid or distance ourselves from them;
- We will do/say/write stupid things that we immediately regret; and other people will see us do/say/write them;
- We will occasionally make colossal mistakes and horribly wrong choices;
- We will lie about something, we will betray somebody – someone will lie about something that effects us, we will be betrayed by somebody;
- We will fail at something we desperately wanted to succeed at;
- We will put our heart and soul into something, and other people will laugh at it;
- We will irretrievably lose something very precious to us;
- We will lose contact with special friends;
- There will be times when we don’t have enough money.
And finally, possibly the most important point – something we accept about SL and just carry on regardless anyway, but often completely fail to manage in RL:
- SLife is not always perfect. It can be, but only rarely will it be.
‘A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory LLAP’
(Leonard Nimoy, 1931 – 2014)
I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier
I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist
Like it doesn’t exist
I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night, feel my tears as they dry
Sia – Chandelier