One year ago today, I joined Second Life. One year ago today, Veronique was born. Or rezzed. Today is Veronique's first rezday.
It's been an interesting year, sometimes even an amazing year. I never really thought of SL as a game, but I did think of it as entertainment when I first started. I didn't realize then just how much more it could be.
Through SL, I have acquired new skills. Some are only useful in world, such as building and scripting, but I'm sure they exercise the brain in good ways. Scripting is a lot like what I do for a living in first life, but building was a whole new thing. I haven't done a lot of it, but I've enjoyed building my various offices, and I'll probably build more in the future.
SL has allowed me to DJ, something I haven't done since back when I had a radio show at university. Even though I'm not young in first life, I've never been one to get stuck listening only to the music of my youth. I have always been interested in new music. Yet I wasn't really finding much I could connect with until I had to go looking for music in order to DJ. That process led to me discover several bands I had not previously known about, such as Bloc Party, the New Pornographers (from my own city), and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. DJing has also got me more excited about music in general. And it helped me realize something important: much as I love playing my own music, I can now be happy showing off the music of those more talented than I and artfully sliding from song to song. I much more at peace about being a failed musician than I've ever been.
I had the nerve to set up a counselling practice in SL and actually charge money for my services, while being up-front about the fact that I had no training at the start and only a little training later on. I've had a number of satisfied clients, and I found it very fulfilling to be able to help people in this way—mainly by being a non-judgmental listener. The fulfilment was such that I am now in pursuit of a new career in first life as a counsellor. I passed a prerequisite course in April, and I start on the certificate program in September. For the last 20 years, I have worked with software. If all goes according to plan, in about a year I will be working with people.
More than anything else, living a second life has taught me a huge amount about myself. I found things in myself that I didn't know where there, or had only a hint of. I have made personal changes as a result of interacting with other human beings in SL and learning from them, no one more than my SL wife and partner, Patrice. Because of my relationship with her, I gave up something in first life that I had previously been unable to admit was hurting me and holding me back. She is still teaching me about myself and about how I relate to other people. It's the same for the many others in SL who have been and are still my friends. I have shared genuine concerns with them, and they with me. And they have responded as true friends—sometimes with compassion, sometimes with a firm talking-to, and always with love.
SL is an experiment not only in technology but also in humanity. My goal in my second life is pretty much the same as in my first life—to learn every day, to grow, to reach out to others, and to become a better human being. Well, I like to have fun in both worlds as well. And if there's something in my second life that seems to be good in general, I can then incorporate it into my first life. What a privilege that is.
So on my first rezday, thanks to all my friends, and thanks to Linden Lab. Even though it just so happens that Second Life is in terrible shape today (or at least was last night and into this morning), and my DJ shift tonight might be a complete disaster as a result, it's still the best second life I know.