By DrFran Babcock
I have been in Second Life™ for a few years, and have enjoyed almost every second of it. I am not much of a creative person, but I love to meet people, chat, go to clubs and dance, shop until I drop, and sail on the Linden Lab seas. As you can see, I have a pretty fulfilling and fun-filled time. I have had a few boyfriends, and unlike some of the people who write to you, I wear these relationships loosely, neither grieving nor exalting when they are over. My philosophy is: Live and Let Live, and it has always worked for me. At least, it worked until recently.
I have been finding, ever so slowly but persistently, that I am feeling a sense of emptiness on an almost daily basis. It’s a little bit hard to describe, but I will try. The other day I was with my two best friends—Shanna and Tiffany—in Gizza checking out their new Spring line of clothes. We were laughing and having a great time, as usual, and the clothes were gorgeous. Out of nowhere the thought came to me: “There has to be more to Second Life™ than this.” Following that thought, I felt a deep sadness, which grabbed me, and did not let go. After a time fooling around with my friends, I told them I had to log off to do some errands (a lie), and I shut my computer off, and moped.
Since that time, the feeling comes and goes with greater frequency. I wouldn’t say that I am bored. I do enjoy the things I am doing when I log in. It’s just that I feel as if there should be more. I have started to search for places in Second Life™ that might offer me a glimpse into meaning: I visited a Buddhist Temple, a church, different philosophy islands, and nothing really gave me what I needed. Worst of all is that I am not at all sure what it is I need. I only know that how I use my time in world now is not enough. I feel shallow, and I want to find some depth to my Second Life™.
DrFran, do you have any ideas what could be going on, and what I can do about it?
Dear Devoid: I am so taken by your honesty and insight. You seem to have arrived at a place that most people never get to visit. The sad truth is that most folks go through their lives (first or second) with their eyes closed to everything that is going on around them. What happens when they “wake up” is that they often begin to question the meaning of what they are doing. Congratulations on waking up, Devoid, because this signals the chance for you to move in a growth direction, and make an in world experience that will be deeper and full of the meaning you seek.
I am glad that you are asking me this question at this time of the year, because it is a time when Second Life™ shines the brightest, because of its altruism. You see, I believe that we get meaning from life when we unselfishly give and do for others. The annual Relay for Life season is in full swing. Every year, residents of Second Life™ form teams to raise money for the American Cancer Society. One Linden is not worth much money, it’s true, but together the Second Life™ Relay for Life team raised US$375,385 to fight cancer!!! Anyone and everyone is invited to participate, and there are still many teams that are looking for or need membership. There is a link at the end that can help you see the teams that might need help.
If fighting against cancer is not your thing, there are plenty of other charities in which residents can participate. Just about every charity that exists in First Life has a twin in the virtual world. I recommend highly finding a way to move from self-contemplation, and into thinking about others. You, and your girlfriends could even find your own charity to sponsor. Maybe this effort will bring some more meaning into your life. Cheers, DrFran
Relay for Life in Second Life™: http://rflofsl.intuitwebsites.