Up until recently my Second Life was this awkward blabbering of an explanation to people when they asked me where I worked. It isn’t always easy to explain how you work in a virtual world doing resident support for virtual land. Basically, assisting those that ‘own’ nothing in a place where you can do anything. Not exactly an easy task, but I somehow managed to get people to understand that yes, I worked in Second Life and no, it is nothing like what you’ve ‘heard’ about on news reports or articles.
There is an even greater amount of people making some sort of income from Second Life now than when I first started working (which I have since stopped). Designers have come and gone and come again. Some making a great deal of real life income, some making enough to pay tier and enjoy the game as their form of a social life and entertainment. In some way, Second Life enters into all of our First Lives, even if we do not acknowledge it. For a long time my Second Life was the only thing keeping my Real Life going. Emotionally and financially.
The hours were long, the pay was enough to put those extra little things out there for my children and to keep our head above water. Like so many, however, I found myself losing touch with my real life and falling into spending too much time in the virtual office I had created for myself. Excusing it by saying we needed the hours. We didn’t need them, I needed them. This was the point when I felt it was the only place I was truly needed or would be happy. Luckily, I was wrong.
Until recently I wasn’t able to control the real vs the virtual. It was difficult to keep myself steady in both lives, both relationships, both families. In the end I had to redefine my Second Life, eliminating the duplicates, so that it was an addition to my Real Life, and I have found that balance finally. After stressful days of my children (yes, all 5), school work, managing a household without the income I was accustom to…I can find my safe haven in Second Life when I need it.
I am still thankful for my time there, all of it, past, present and future. Through every adventure we form who we are and I can say without a doubt that Second Life has a permanent place within my life and I consider it one of my favorite escapes. First, Second, merged together perfectly in the end. I hold onto my blogging, my pictures, my closest friends, and every day I learn. I am learning to take and edit those pictures of my virtual life and improving with each click. I am enjoying each event, fair, build and newest designs by the many creators that wander this world together.
I have always believed we each come here to find something, to fill some space that our real lives just weren’t tending to. I still believe this, that it fills a need in me that I am unable to find in my real life at this point in time. No matter how long or rocky the road, it’s worth the journey. While it may have contained a few mistakes and a bucket full of tears at one point, this place has taught me to live, laugh and love. There are so many amazing people and I happily take them with me from one life to the next.
Bio: Dinalya first joined SL in Feb of 2004 on another av, creating this one purely for the name and then sticking to it. She blogs as often as she is able at slgrandillusion.com and if found in world is either shopping, building up her land, shopping, tearing down and rebuilding her land, shopping, taking pictures or, possibly, on a good day…shopping. When she clicks that X to log out she is a mother of 5, married to the father of her children and her internet sweetheart forever and a day now, and living it up in Ohio. With a passion for her family and literature, she is back in school and working to create something bigger and better for herself and their future.