May 26, 2010

Of voids


Do I still have readers after more than 2 months of silence? Two months of silence. Almost 10 weeks of not blogging. That seemed unthinkable a while ago. But I was not only lazy with blogging; I was barely online in SL as well. Having been reliably online daily for the better part of 3 years, nowadays I can only been found in-world once or twice a week. So what happened?

What happened is that I have a new RL job.

"Oh!", you may think now, "This new job keeps you busy and you have to impress your new boss with loads of overtime and 140% commitment!"

No, that is not it. Of course the job keeps me busy, but it does not come with an extra investment in time. What happened however is that this job fills a void that previously got filled by SL.

Regular readers of my ramblings might remember that I often mentioned a certain hardship in my RL. A close family member suffers from a medical condition - which overshadows my life. In addition to that, my (old) RL job has turned into a nightmare during the past three years. I was trapped between a rock and a hard place, and before I found SL I was pretty much depressive. I was on a bad path, and I lacked many, many things in my RL. Respect. Appreciation. Peace. Success. Financial freedom. Companionship. Trust. Tenderness. Love.

I got all this from SL. And plenty of it.

You might think this is pathetic. I tend to think it saved my life one way or the other. For a few hours each day I found what I was craving for. I found peace. I found respect. I enjoyed success and financial freedom. At the same time that my abusive RL boss tried psychological warfare on me and told me how much I suck at what I do - I established and built the leading text service provider in SL. While I got told that the work I did the last 10 years was a piece of shit, that I suck at marketing, that I suck at selling, that I suck at networking - nonetheless I became a boss in SL myself, a business partner of some of the biggest names in SL, got a certain public exposure, got nominated as social butterfly, got nominated twice as Entrepreneur of the Year, became a SL Solution Provider.

Cynics might suggest that I had better invested this energy on my RL job. And maybe they are right. But talk is cheap, and I had the impression I was fighting a losing battle anyways - which got confirmed by friends and family. People, who had no reason to lie to me.

After a specifically abusive incident in late summer 2009 I finally had enough and started looking for a new job. My family situation made me reluctant to give up the security of my old job (as bad as it might have been - it seemed secure). Getting my CV in order and browsing job listings gave me new energy. I became bolder in job applications; I became less intimidated in my old job. And finally I found a new job.

And then something unexpected happened. The significance SL had for my life dropped overnight.

I started my new job - and did not log into SL for almost a week. I was so energized for my new job, and I was so stunned (in a positive way) of the new tasks, the new projects, and the new challenges.... I sat on my couch in the evening, totally exhausted (in a good way), and read, watched TV or played Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe - a vintage computer game.

To be honest, I feared I was addicted to SL. It was both a relieving as well as a strange realization that I am not addicted at all!

Recent research suggests that there is no such thing as addiction. That it is only stimulation and fulfillment of needs, and as soon as the needs get fulfilled in another way, the addiction vanishes. I am a prime example for this. I had the need for a respectful, appreciative environment. I did not get it in my RL, but found it in SL. So I became addicted to SL. Now I work for a company that WANTS me, that CHOSE me out of countless applicants, that NEEDS my skills, that WANTS my creativity, that gives me freedom, recognition and trust - and by this fills the void that SL used to fill.

No, don't worry, this is not another of those "I am leaving SL" posts.

I have no intention to leave SL. I like SL. It is still an environment in which I want to relax (and yes, running two businesses IS relaxing for me) , in which I have friends. However I need to reassess my time - and plan it better. Right now I am thinking of setting aside one evening for my SL-businesses, and another evening for fun, meeting friends, exploring. There are lots of things to do: I want to relocate Babel and create a small creative plaza with my friends Nissa and Ivanova. I want to pick up photography again, and - having worked with digital video some years ago - finally try machinima in SL. I neglected my social life, and I want to WIN Entrepreneur of the Year this time.

It is actually a nice feeling. Now that the subtle pressure of filling a void is gone, I can look at SL from a new angle. SL gave me a lot over the past 3 years, now it is a new chapter in my relationship with SL, and I look forward what it can give me at this stage.

23 comments:

Prad Prathivi said...

There is nothing in this blogpost I don't relate to. Kudos.

Stella Stapleton said...

Well said and congratulations!

Wildstar said...

I understand you very well, and I think it is great if SL will no longer fill a void but will give you added value on top of a working RL

Fair Winds ! :)

Trinity Dechou said...

Having been there through it all it is wonderful to see you truly happy, to hear you speak to highly of your new job and the rejuvenation it's given your RL.
I am glad you had SL apart from the wonderful friends and experiences it's brought you over the years and it's ability to provide you with something to help get you through the days, however I am also glad to see that you can distance yourself once again and hopefully find the fun again rather than using it to bridge a void.

Crystal said...

Sounds all good and I'm happy for you. I wish the next on the "gimme-a-better-RL-list" will be me now :)

This is reassuring to read this somehow, thank you for sharing.

ArminasX said...

Thank you for a very profound and personal post. Yes, I'm still reading you, my friend, and will continue to do so. It's funny how SL can be a reflection of one's RL situation - in reverse. But I completely understand your situation and wonder how many happy avatars are actually unhappy in RL. Welcome back!

Nissa Nightfire said...

I can't begin to express how very proud I am of you, Peter. Our hearts and minds have traveled together in SL for a long time now, and despite the changes we have both gone through in recent months, I still stand right beside you, looking forward with great joy, hope, and expectation for you. Godspeed, my friend.

Alexandra Rucker said...

Congratulations on getting out of Job Hell! :) (Having been in one of those jobs before, I can certainly relate - SL wasn't available to me at the time, though.)

Vextra Messing said...

So happy to hear the new job is working out well - that your time in SL will be less for escape and more for SL's sake :) *hugs* Peter!

Whispers said...

What an inspirational story! Thank you for sharing! :D

for Paisley Beebe said...

What is interesting here is how SL contributed to your desire to leave. Its a common story I hear a LOT particularly from Artists and Musicians that they find their missing courage and self esteem on SL. Good for you! Im glad to hear it :) Paisley

Anonymous said...

I love when someone manages to put into words what I cannot. This expresses exactly what I have been going through with SL at the moment and my RL.

Thank you for sharing Peter, and yes you still have readers :)

Pay said...

Welcome back. Between jobs myself and can feel your pain! Great analysis of a very uncomfortable situation.

Ellen said...

Hey Peter, great post. And very recognizable.
Well, I myself left SL sometime ago in the intention to maybe come back someday. Someday never came. But I must say it was the best decision I made for a long time. I just dropped by to say Hi.
And Bye again :-)

London Spengler said...

So you only want to:
- Relocate Babel and create a small creative plaza.
- Pick up photography again.
- Try machinima.
- Work on your social life.
- WIN Entrepreneur of the Year.

Definitely, you aren't lacking objectives *smiles warmly*.

Anonymous said...

Each time I failed to see your name highlighted on my Friend list I figured "RL has got him again" but your emails let me know you were still alive so I wasn't that worried. And I had hoped that you had found in RL what we both used SL for, the make our lives in general better. For some SL is an escape, for others it is a game, but for folks like you and me it helps us cope. You still have my best wishes for your new job and my friendship in-world.

Faerie said...

Welcome back Peter, I missed you :)

Gracie Kendal said...

I found your blog through Botgirl's post..and have to say, I think you are right on the money. I have been in SL for almost 4 years..and I know I'm not addicted, but in the past it has definitely filled a 'void,' a need, an emptiness in all of the same ways that you have mentioned. Thank you for putting into words what I have been thinking for a long time now. Thank you very much for your thoughts. Congratulations on finding a fulfilling RL job!! I hope you find everything else you are looking for too :))

Peter Stindberg said...

Thank you very much everybody for those lovely comments!

Bettye Dugan said...

*hug*

Sheila Yoshikawa said...

Congratulations on your new job and your new zest in life ;-))
Sorry it's taken a while to post this, I have been dashing around in SL, and even more outside it. One of my puzzles is that I seem to have recreated a lot of aspects of my original "work" life, in SL, which in the end has brought some of the same stresses as I get in work outside SL (although also a good deal of fun and enjoyment). Compared with a lot of people, I have control over directions I can go in, so if my SL gets stressed, then I have myself to blame, I suppose...

Cheyenne Palisades said...

Peter, come back to us. It's not all-or-none. Find a small amount of time to get in world every now and again or post a short blog and keep your many friends apprised of the things that are happening in your life. We don't care only for the second Stindberg!

Stacie Zanzibar said...

*hugs* Congratulations and well wishes!