Interesting times for me. After years of settling down into my own routine and feeling comfortable in my second life, in the past few months it’s all started to become rather unsettled – not in a bad way, I hasten to add, but my routines have started to become less routine and my day to day virtual experiences have developed a whole new array of unexpected territory to explore.
Whilst, on the outside, its all been rather subtle and unlikely to be obvious to anyone but my closest inworld friends, I feel that my character and the way I interact with those around me also changing as a result of the new challenges that SL has seen fit to send my way, and to quote the oft repeated mantra from so many profiles, ‘I’m the same in SL and RL’, so I can’t help thinking that what’s happening to my virtual self may well cross over into the real world too… And I’m not entirely sure what I think of that!
I’ve been doing a few things out of character lately in the virtual world: Firstly, my friends list has experienced a growth spurt, and unlike the majority of the pre-existing names featuring on the list, I’ve been finding myself able and willing to spend time with these people and, horror of horrors, chat to them about all manner of things in IMs – something that has never come easily to me. Please don’t think that this is any reflection upon any of the more established friends I have inworld – I wouldn’t swap them for the world, and for some of them, I’d willingly walk barefoot over broken glass… It’s just that I seem to have unlocked something that’s never been there before, and I’m not really sure why with some people things are a bit different, and with others, I’m the same old me.
I’m not one for social gatherings amongst strangers, or in unfamiliar places and settings, yet recently, I’ve departed from the beaten path on a few occasions and mingled happily with others in circumstances that previously would have found me hiding away in a corner. I’ve also found myself giving up my precious ‘me time’ in favour of ‘we time’, putting aside solitary pursuits that I previously would have preferred and instead spending time with others, chatting, shopping, dancing…
It’s all rather odd, and very much out of character and I really don’t know where it’s coming from.
I wonder if I’m becoming more social and gregarious with age, or maybe I’m mellowing somewhat and letting down the barriers that I’ve spent a lifetime erecting. Unlikely though that may seem to me initially, it does sort of make sense. The last ten years or so of my life have been one long process of reconstruction and re-establishing a sense of self, and perhaps that process is now bearing fruit. In RL, life has made me one tough cookie, and that has naturally been replicated in SL. I’m completely in control of every aspect of my life and no-one, but no-one, gets allowed in unless I trust them implicitly and it’s on my own terms – it’s a defence mechanism that works, and it’s not something that I relinquish without very good reason. The same is also true of SL.
The vast majority of my friends have taken months, sometimes years to become established; the vast majority of my time spent inworld has always been spent in solitude and doing my own thing; the vast majority of social activities I’ve partaken of fall within a tiny circle of places, people and events. This has been a conscious preference, driven by a personality that is hard coded for self preservation.
Until now, this has been sacrosanct and inviolate, but clearly something is undergoing a paradigm shift, and it’s almost as if I’m testing the water in SL before I take the plunge and start exploring new horizons in the real world. That is, frankly, terrifying!
However, many of the new aspects of my virtual life the have started to unfold were, if not terrifying, at least unnerving and capable of sending me into a flat spin in the past, yet I seem to be taking them on board without too much obvious angst… So maybe that’s a positive sign for reality too?
To be absolutely honest, I’ve been perfectly happy with my life, both real and virtual, for quite some time now, and I would have continued in that vein until I fell off my twig; however life can be both perfidious and benevolent when it comes to fate, not to mention occasionally mischievous, and sometimes you just have to lift your head above the parapet and take the risk that entails.
Maybe there’s a whole new wealth of experience that I’ve expertly managed to deny myself for years, or maybe it’s just a phase I’m going through which will eventually peter out and I’ll revert to type… Only time will tell.
Let’s see what happens!
And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself, “Well… how did I get here?”
Talking Heads – Once In A Lifetime