The Virtual/Reality Balance

So, one of the first things I tend to share about myself when people ask about me is that I work from home. That elusive, appealing lifestyle, right? It’s really not all roses, but I am grateful for the opportunities I do have. I do work as a customer service supervisor for a US-based call center while newly married and now living overseas. My schedule, because of the time difference, is a shock to some because they can’t understand how someone would choose to work such unconventional hours. But I like it, and it works for me.

I also write in my free time, although I have a lot of refining to do there. I enjoy some console and PC gaming and even dabble in 3D modeling to try to branch out a little. But, generally speaking, when I’m done “adulting” and can relax, I log into Second Life.

With me not having access to my social circle back in the US, socializing has been especially hard. Second Life helps ease that load a bit, because I am not always afforded the opportunity to be able to go out and meet people like normal people would. Chronic illness also tends to have my opportunities curbed, as I can’t always predict when I’m going to be doubled over in pain with little warning. It’s hard to be functional with that taken into consideration.

The bits of Second Life that I enjoy the most- the creative outlets, the limitless and the people- tend to bleed over to what I enjoy offline. I found my musical tastes far more diversified. I crochet more, because my love of creating clothing led to really neat ways of incorporating an ages-old skill into more modern tastes. There’s always a bit of competition among some key people to step up my skills in the kitchen. The influences are small, but the impact is noticeable.

I think my love for writing has also been amplified, and I can spend hours crafting a novella that may never see the light of day. Who know; maybe one day I’ll post one here for perusal and critique. But the beautiful thing is that I’ve found some inspiration to keep creating.

With the incorporation of Social Media into our virtual lives, sometimes that line gets pretty blurred between our virtual and physical existences. Even if I don’t log into Second Life, I still am prone to extensive conversations with other Residents via Facebook or Twitter. We’re still laughing at each others’ ludicrous Snapchats, or showing support on Instagram…even cracking up in a Hangouts session with video and wine. In a few rare cases, we just hang out offline.

So how disconnected are the two? Honestly, if you do embrace it for what it is, not at all. Friends don’t stop being friends when you log out. Your inspiration leaks and ebbs in reality. In some beautiful circumstances, it can motivate life changes and different career paths in the most unexpected ways.

My life, while very much immersed in the reality, is never far from the virtual. It’s an extension of me; something that is part of my character in its’ own way. I’ve finally learned that it’s totally okay and a wonderful, fruitful thing.


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