Have you ever wanted a new life? Have you ever looked around at what you have and although, thankful for the people and life around you, thought about breaking free, running away and becoming someone else?
Are you really someone else…entirely different than the person you portray to people? Do you have visions of being a six foot, 120 lb., leggy blonde that owns a dress shop in Paris? Well, I don’t know if I would go that far…but you get the idea.
In class this week, the assignment was to create an account via Second Life. Second Life is a 3D virtual universe, where you can be whatever you want to be. You can be you, if that’s what you want, and create an avatar that looks and acts like you do in real life. You can make an avatar that is completely different than you, hence the 6.3’ leggy blond, or you can create an avatar of fantasy…you can be a purple vampire with a fedora, if that is what you are into.
Prior to this assignment, I had never considered Second Life as something I would ever experience. I am not a “gamer” and thought Second Life was for sad, lonely people with no life. I don’t have a lot of extra time and to be honest, the last game I played was Super Mario Brothers in 1991.
I was intrigued after our lecture, and amazed by the organizations, universities, and other entities that are using Second Life. People have entire conferences online, hold meetings, and have classes. All you do is log in, create your mini-digital-me, and sit in a virtual classroom; all without the constraints of geography. It is truly amazing.
So, I did it. I have an avatar…words I never thought would come out of my mouth, much less type in a blog. I liked it, too. WHAT!!?? Yes, it is cool. Granted, I had no idea what I was doing…I was a little lost. After a little time, I figured some things out. I went some awesome places last night…did you? I went to the Grand Canyon, the beach, a dance club, a museum and went shoe shopping…I also went for a run in New York’s Battery Park…pretty good for a Saturday night.
I learned to walk, run and FLY…yes, FLY. It is a much faster way of travel and feels quite liberating. I teleported all over this virtual universe. I chatted with a few people, mostly asking for help in figuring things out. But overall it was quite interesting. After spending some time, as said leggy blond, I went back and edited her a bit. Unbelievable, as it was, I wanted her to be more like me. I shortened her down to 5.2’, thickened her legs a bit, widened her nose…but I left her blond and big boob’ed…Hey, a girl can dream can’t she?
I don’t know how much time I will spend on it, or if I will ever log back in, but I can see the allure. Life is hard. The pressures are real. Even the most self-aware, self-confident, put-together people have hidden wants and dreams. In this world, this virtual world, you can be whatever you want to be, go wherever you want to go and do anything you want to do… it’s a whole lot less work than in real life and without the consequences. That’s a pretty cool thing…dangerous perhaps, but cool.