Once in awhile I will hear of a personal story about struggling to balance RL and SL. More specifically, these are usually stories about “SL addiction”. While I don’t deny anyone’s experience and there are even elements to those stories that I can relate to, I don’t buy the whole concept of being addicted to SL.
Listen, I’m not meaning to sound judgmental or self-righteous. I’ve been there myself. I get it. I really do. But, I think that at some point you have to realize that Second Life only has as much power over you as you are willing to let it have.
When I hear a story of a person “finally kicking their SL addiction for good”, I feel sympathetic for them but then I feel annoyed. I mean, we’re talking about a computer generated 3D simulator, not crack/cocaine.
Now, I don’t deny or dismiss the way anyone else experiences the virtual world, and I can’t help but contrast it to my own SL history. Maybe I’m one of the lucky ones because after four years, I still am drawn to and enjoy SL. Sure I have my ups and downs with it, but overall, I still find things to get excited about that make me look forward to sitting down at my desk in the evening to log on. And my personal life is not falling apart because of it. Maybe the dishes won’t get done sometimes or I lose track of time and stay up past my bedtime, but that’s life. There are so many wonderful possibilities in this virtual world and I wish there were more stories of how SL has enhanced and improved people’s lives rather than stories of “my SL addiction destroyed my marriage and now my life is ruined”.
I know it is a harsh thing to say but sometimes I think that addiction is a convenient excuse to not take responsibility for one’s choices and face the truth of the matter.
If it didn’t feel completely good to me, I wouldn’t bother logging on. That’s why I have to wonder why those who have such struggles with SL continue to log in, identifying themselves as Victims of their Second Live’s, and not as the Creators that they really are.