I did not say “real life” for I truly believe that my virtual world is as real as my physical world – just a different space. And that is what has made SL so rewarding and at times so difficult. I have lived, laughed, cried and loved in both worlds. I have developed new friendships and nurtured old ones in both worlds. I have been both a shoulder to cry on and in need of a shoulder to cry on in both worlds. In fact, I am no longer sure where Amy ends and Yamis begins – or whether there is a distinction at all.
So to reflect: My Second life has been full of changes this year. Most basically, my avatar itself has morphed from newbie-ish (despite being almost a year old this time last year) into a pretty woman with wings – my butterfly self. That happened when I learned to be free – to be me inworld. When I allowed my true self to come through. It was at that point that I realized this wasn’t a game and that I wanted people to get to know the real me. The real me has a need to be a free spirit, to be social, to fly, to soar, to flutter from friend to friend and to love. The real me also has responsibilities to my family, my work, and my education that dampen my wings in first life. So here I’ve learned to walk more. And there is nothing inherently wrong with that – except that I am often lost in the trees and cannot see the forest through which I travel.
The friendships I have made in both worlds have been so special – and a few have crossed worlds. I have brought friends (and one sibling) into SL and I have brought friends from SL into my first life. I love that my children recognize and know my SL friends as well as they know my first life friends: “oh, Kitzie looks pretty tonight” and “did your friend Jon change how he looks?”
The environments I’ve lived in in both worlds have gone through peaceful times and difficult patches. What I have learned from this is that nothing stays the same. Life – no matter where – is as unpredictable and dynamic as the people who inhabit it. But the good part – is that nothing stays the same. So I have learned not to expect the high times to stay high and that the low times will not stay low. I’ve learned that love comes in waves, and that honesty and forgiveness to lovers and friends in both worlds are not just good suggestions but are required components of love.
So, to look forward: I will continue to work on the FL/SL balance putting more emphasis on my FL to care for my family and work on my dissertation. I will continue to nurture my relationships and friendships in both worlds. And I will most of all do my best to care for myself physically, mentally, and spirituality.
Happy New Year my dear friends!