Monday, September 29, 2008

Ravenelle and Torley sound out on maintaining balance between both lives

Ravenelle Zugzwang began Second Life® in December 2002 as Ravenelle Feaver, which makes her almost 6 years old, while Torley has been around forever, first as Torley Torgeson and later as a Linden employee.

"The photobooth" taken by Ravenelle

Not long ago, Ravenelle shared a bit of wisdom with me when I complained of being overwhelmed by my Second Life, saying "Keeping a good life balance is a never ending challenge. When I get word that someone is off balance with their life I share my meat story... and thankfully Torley has documented it for me and others here." This really struck a chord and I have taken it to heart. To me, it speaks to priorities and staying true to your ultimate goals.

Morning coffee by Ravenelle

Still, I wondered about their secrets for longevity and how they manage to keep it fun and productive.

Torley, I am under the impression that you keep a healthy balance of interests that are grounded in both real and virtual worlds. How intentional is this, and do you sometimes find yourself leaning more in one direction than the other and having to take steps to rectify things so that the balance is restored?

This scale was created by Madcow Cosmos

Torley Linden: It's absolutely intentional. My Second Life is built upon my first life and they cycle into each other. Rewards in one life inform and better the other. It's a cross-reality ecosystem, I tell ya! In the very beginning of my Second Life, my First Life was frail. I was in this very depressed, sad state, and finding friends and adventuring inworld helped boost my confidence.

It's a dynamic balance, for sure, which changes day by day. But all things said, my "lives system" is blessed with equilibrium.

Torley and Rav keep it playful

What advice do you have for the passionate Second Life user (like myself) who is often challenged by issues of balance?

Torley Linden: Learn to recognize - and only you can tell - the difference between unhealthy obsession and what we call "gladdiction," a glad, or healthy, addiction. Regularly check to make sure parts of your life that need attention to are being paid that tribute. Otherwise, it's like a weed infestation starting at one corner and killing your whole garden. Always look for lessons from First Life you can apply to Second Life, and vice-versa — whether it's artistic ideas, inspirational self-help (of the practical, not the kooky quack kind), and fellowship with other like-minds.

Take breathers, but don't be overly dramatic. Don't say "I'M LEAVING SECOND LIFE!" because of drama that's understandably hurt you when, in fact, your emotions are just a transient phase of maybe a few days, or weeks at most. Follow-up your words with profound actions, for there are many great ideas but few awesome executions (in comparison). GIVE YOURSELF SPACE when you need it, but don't stay there forever — socializing and learning from others is good!

And if it works for you (as it did for us), grow bolder about what you share. Some Resis are quite anonymous and keep their lives separate. Of course, there are contexts when this is appropriate, but we've often observed it has to do with something damaged (e.g., baggage, broken trust ) in First Life that hasn't "leaked through" to Second Life.

To wit, we're advocates for using Second Life as a tool to deal with your bagagge, as opposed to dumping it (and inflicting suffering) on others. Unite yourself.

And always: "CHOP THE SLOP!" It means, hunt down what's NOT contributing to either of your lives and kill it. For instance, say you have a friend who's always harping on about how jealous they are of other content creators, and basically spews bile and venom in your conversations. If you've deeply encouraged them and guided them to help resources to get better — and yet, they still drag on you — then it's time to remove them from your lives.

That gives you more time to spend with people who contribute to, not drain, your well-being.

See also: Celebrating Second Life's power couple


Fricker Fraker said...

Excellent post Bettina! Thank you for bringing some words of wisdom from Ravenelle and Torley. I guess he’s not a total nut… :) just kidding Torley ... Hahahaha

Sophrosyne Stenvaag said...

Much to ponder there - thank you for a terrific post!

Torley said...

Nut? I'm all melon! ;D