Then again, in my ideal world, it would always be the week leading up to a perfect Victorian Christmas, with the crunch of snow underfoot, the smell of roasting chestnuts and mulled wine in the air and carol singers at the door.
However, in my ideal world, it would be springtime in the countryside, with birdsong everywhere, a pleasant breeze stirring the grass underfoot and ice-cold babbling brooks – and, of course, wasps wouldn’t get a look in!
But, my ideal world is an Amazon rainforest, full of mystery and intrigue – the call of howler monkeys providing an unearthly accompaniment to the buzz of insects and the incessant bird calls. The air would smell of earth and vitality and rain.
Although, my ideal world would be a futuristic megacity, full of neon glow and the waft of ozone…
Maybe, I don’t really have an ideal world; maybe I have many ideal worlds that change as the mood suits me and are as many and varied as the possibilities that exist. I suspect that may ring true with others too, and whilst we all may have our favourite ideal world scenarios, we also have to be realistic and accept that in RL, perfection is frequently unattainable. In real terms, we tend to compromise and make the best of what we have – we understand that the perfect, ideal world is essentially something that really only exists in our minds.
Throughout our lives, we take mental and emotional snapshots of those fleeting, special moments, when everything comes together to give us a magical, special glimpse of what the ideal world could be like… That lazy, languid, afternoon on a Summer’s day; that thump of the heart as ‘the one’ moves in for a first kiss; that adrenaline rush when you cross the line in first place; that unforgettable view; that flush of pride; that feeling of joy. These are the individual pieces of the jigsaw puzzle of our lives that mean the most. Out of that jumble of many similar pieces these are the ones that we search for to build a meaningful picture – all the rest is just noise. However, none of these individual moments make up the full picture, and even if they could, the end result would be far from ideal – there would be far too many conflicts and clashes for it to work. So we pick and choose, to suit our mood and our moment.
Second Life is a pretty big place – its locations number in their thousands, as do the range of experiences and environments they offer. Some will appeal, some – quite definitely – will not, but out there somewhere on the world map is the ideal world for us at any given time, no matter how often our own personal ‘ideal’ changes, there will be somewhere here that fits the bill. And yet, a great many of us limit our SL exploring to just a very few well travelled routes – our own personal SL may number only a few isolated sims, or even just the odd location within those sims – it always strikes me as odd that when we first discover SL, we travel far and wide, searching for those places and things that appear to us, yet once we’ve settled down, it seems that the virtual world contracts dramatically for the majority of us – we know what we like, and we stick to them like glue.
I know a fairly new recruit to SL who spends a huge amount of time checking out new places and comes back with wild stories and all sorts of strange tales. People laugh about them, and put it down to inexperience and a noob’s thirst for discovery – but surely, this is one of the fundamental joys of SL… A journey of discovery and adventure, constantly discovering new experiences and sights that appeal to us and drive us onward. Or perhaps I’m wrong?
It just seems a bit odd to me that knowing we have little choice in RL, we accept that the ideal world is probably just something in our imagination and that although we can catch a fleeting glance at those opportune moments that crop up rarely in our day-to-day lives, on the whole we just have to accept what is given to us. Yet, in SL, we can search out our ideal world and experience it as much as we want – certainly it takes an effort to do so, but surely it’s an effort worth making?
Maybe I can’t have blue skies, crunchy snow, the sounds of the rainforest or any one of many ideal worlds that I’d love to be able to experience at will in RL; but there’s nothing to stop me from having them whenever I want in the virtual world.
Nothing, that is, other than myself.
Hey you with the pretty face,
Welcome to the human race
A celebration Mr. Blue Sky’s
Up there waitin’ and today
Is the day we’ve waited for
Electric Light Orchestra – Mr Blue Sky