Is that time of year again when invitations have gone out to apply to participate in SL’s birthday celebrations. It’s also that time of year that I invariably fire off my application and start planning and building in anticipation that I’ll be successful in securing a plot. However, this time round, I decided that I wasn’t going to apply – I’ll certainly go along to SL14B and enjoy the atmosphere and exploring, but for the first time in five years, I’m not actually going to be a part of it.
There’s a number of reasons, the main one being that I’m right in the middle of a major work project at the moment, which is going to continue through to Christmas and means I’ll be working away a great deal and putting in some long hours; consequently, I’m unlikely to have either the time or the opportunity to devote to a new build. What time I do have inworld at the moment, I’d prefer to devote to socialising and relaxing with friends. Besides, I’ve been doing a lot in SL recently… There’s The Wigan Casino, a couple of other builds and a new exhibition at The Gallery, and it feels like could do with a break. I’m a huge believer in the old principle of letting things lie fallow for a period to allow them to recover their vitality, and the same is true for myself, after 5 years, I think a break is in order.
Not that I’ve been particularly inspired by the theme anyway – so, rather than wrack my brains and come up with a half-hearted carnival-themed exhibit that isn’t really my scene, I’d rather opt out on this occasion and see what everyone else manages to come up with instead.
I’m a bit baffled by the way in which the Lindens treat the whole celebration anyway: There was a time when it was Lab organised event, then following M Linden’s infamous speech at SL5B, slagging off SL residents, things went a bit sour and eventually the Lab pulled out and SLB became a ‘community’ event, then more recently the Lab one again got involved and supported SLB, only to revert back to a much lower profile last year, instead focusing their efforts into their own celebratory activities, which also seems to be the case again this year. It’s all a bit confusing, and sends all sorts of mixed messages about how the Lab really feels about how SL residents chose to celebrate the ongoing success of the virtual world into which they’ve invested their time, energy and resources.
It’s also high time that I started diversifying in terms of large scale inworld events. I may have involved myself in SLB for some years, but I’ve not really explored the other longstanding celebrations and events that are a large part of what goes on in SL. Burn2, Relay for Life, and the numerous fayres and expositions have all been a big part of the inworld experience for a long time, but I’m afraid I’ve never paid any of them a visit or participated in their festivities, and I think it’s probably about time I broadened my horizons and gave them a try.
So I won’t be building anything for the celebrations this year, and although that does feel a little odd, it also feels a strangely positive thing to do. Way back in the days when I was young and fit, I used to give up a huge amount of my time to judo, both participating and teaching – I was pretty good at it, and people used to tell me I should do it professionally, but that was something I could never contemplate. There’s a world of difference between doing something for simple pleasure and enjoyment, and doing something from necessity because it’s your source of income. There’s a parallel here for me with SL – everything I do in SL, I do for fun: I don’t do it for profit, or even to break even; it’s not an investment, and whatever I undertake is – in the main – for my own enjoyment and entertainment, and if others also enjoy and are entertained as a result, then it’s all to the good.
That ethos starts to fall apart if what I’m doing starts to become something that is undertaken out of obligation, or out of some sort of expectation or assumption that I will do so, just because that’s what I have traditionally done. It starts to lose the element of fun, spontaneity and freedom, and will eventually become a burden and an inconvenience. You may not feel the same way, and think that there’s nothing more wonderful than doing what you enjoy, day in and day out, but for me that element of real enjoyment would eventually be lost.
So I’m taking a break, maybe just this year, or maybe for longer, I don’t know, but I have a feeling it’ll do me good, and maybe I be giving somebody else a chance instead. I’m sure that I’ll be back for SL15B, and I’ll certainly be spending some time at this year’s event, only this time as a spectator, rather than an exhibitor… Which, in itself, I’m sure will be a fun experience.
You’ll never find a better way
Lord, don’t stop the Carnival
Let us sing the night and day away
Lord, don’t stop the Carnival
Alan Price Set – Don’t Stop The Carnival