I saw an act of vandalism on my First Life (FL) walk this morning. It set my mind off thinking about so many things.
First Life: Vandalism
Every morning I walk 4-8 miles in the hills around my house. I walk up the hills to the West half the time. And on the trails to the East the other half. Across the street from me, to the West, is a huge apartment complex. Going up the grade next to the apartments this morning I noticed a car had its passenger window blown out. It was so out, I thought for a moment that it was rolled down. Then I noticed that the window was broken/melted down the side of the car door like a banana peel. I wondered what the motorist had done to cause such a window annihilation?
The answer presented itself as I walked. A dozen cars parked along the hillside all had their passenger windows blown out. And little cards from a police officer stuck in their windshields.
I presume some vandal walked up or down the hill in the middle of the night with a crowbar or other blunt object and blew out all these windows. When the first victim called the police, the officer left a contact card in every other victim’s windshield.
IDK the circumstances. But so many windows were destroyed that I’m guessing it wasn’t to steal valuables within. That’d take a lot of time. I’m guessing someone just walked along and smashed every window without even a reason “as good” as stealing stuff.
A smashed window, even on a rainy morning, is not life’s worst outcome. I live in a country that has simply accepted that a mass murder pretty much every day is an acceptable price for “gun freedom”. A blown out window is pretty small compared to a lost life. Still, to imagine these dozen apartment dwellers heading over to their car sometime during the day and having this day, time, and wallet ruining surprise was just so sad.
AFAIK my area has not been hit by the drug epidemics that have hit many places in my country. Still, I’m going to guess that most people aren’t so evil as to do this in their “right mind” and that some disturbed drug state “explains”, but doesn’t justify, this act.
I don’t think I know any of the victims. The tragedy is less tragic than gun violence. Less tragic than the atrocities currently being perpetuated in Gaza, Ukraine, Hong Kong, and so many other places. Still, it hit me hard. It wasn’t “news from over there”. It was the block next to mine. It was so senseless. So sad.
Human beings suck sometimes!
We smash windows. We dominate other human beings to elevate our egos and sense of power and self worth. Why can’t we all just get along?
Today, every little act of cruelty feels so cruel to me.
Today, every small act of kindness feels so precious and beautiful to me.
First Life: New Year’s Resolutions
I don’t think I know anyone in First Life (FL) who makes New Year’s Resolutions anymore. Individually, or as a culture, we figured out some time ago that pledging some massive change that would be abandoned within a week was pointless.
A “New Year’s Resolution” is an inspirational, aspirational, breath of fresh air. At least for the week that you think you’re going to do it.
Small, measurable, easily schedulable change is, I think, not hard. It’s huge, unrealistic change that is so easily failed at. Whenever I say “I’ll do pushups later”, I never do. But to simply get out of bed and go walk a few miles every morning is an easy routine.
First & Second Lives: Holidays
Resolutions or not, we’re here. I remember in January 2023 my friend Joni said
Only 48 weeks left of 2023!
And, boom! It’s over.
We have a moment to reflect on things that happened. And didn’t.
Things accomplished. And not.
And call them “resolutions” or not, things we’d like to accomplish, ways we’d like to be, ways we’d like to live, in 2024.
We make an effort to cherish each other every day. But this time of year, on these short & cold (for the Northern Hemisphere) days, we often reflect.
Second Life: Resolutions
As avatars, “losing weight, bulking up, hitting the gym” and so on, don’t really apply to our lives. But we can still make resolutions.
I’m part of a long running group that’s set in its ways. I don’t share many of the group’s priorities and often think I should quit.
When you’re frustrated, burning bridges can be satisfying. For 5 minutes anyway. And sometimes, when you choose to walk a different path, burning bridges, or ladders, or the ships you sailed here in, can help focus your commitment to move forward.
But often burning bridges can be a lot about acting out. About lashing out against a dominating power that you feel is constantly smothering you.
Burning bridges, like draconian house cleaning or wardrobe thinning, can offer simplicity and clarity. But sometimes it’s great to put on the old knit crop top and crazy bell bottoms!
In 2024 I’d like to focus more on what I find nourishing. And less on what I don’t. That’s a goal for most of us most of the time, isn’t it?
To be more specific: I’d like to strive to complain less. As a member of a group that’s set in its ways, there are two obvious extremes:
- constantly bang my head against the wall of no change
- storm out in a huff
For 2024 I’d like to explore a middle path. Even though I’m not a Conservative Christian, the many Conservative Christians that dominate my organization have a “serenity prayer” that makes sense to me:
What if I didn’t worry about changing anything?
Accept everything as it is.
Simply ignore and don’t participate in the many aspects I chafe against.
And embrace those I find nourishing.
Spend my time not being frustrated. Not complaining. Enjoying the enjoyable.
Easy, right? Wise, right?
This is my 2024 Avatar Resolution.
As the holidays arrive and 2023 starts to make its exit, a few friends and I had a little dance party this morning. We put on fancy dresses. Jerae and I talked for a long time. After the dance party she dragged me to her favorite shop, Magika hair. Jerae swears Magika has the best hair textures on the grid. I tried on a pretty crown-braided hairstyle, “Joy” which Jerae proceeded to gift to me.
It wasn’t necessary, nor excessive, but it was sweet. I think she wanted a way to “touch” a friend in our palpable and emotional, but incorporeal and non-tactile, world. As I fiddled with my braided crown, Jerae added a bit of seasonal holly to my hair. And then she jetted off for her hosting duties.
We constantly “gift” each other in our world. Sometimes with tangible intangibles like a day at the virtual hair salon. And often simply with the gift of our time. We socialize. Rest a head on a shoulder. When someone new has a project idea we encourage their thinking and share code, techniques, access to tools, and other resources to help them realize their project.
Today Jerae said,
I think I understood what she was saying. In some groups we have a “friend everyone” policy. IDK if that really helps. It might make it too easy to have hundreds of “friends” that you’ve never said a word to. Perhaps “talk to everybody” would be a better mantra than “friend everybody”?
Or “talk to as many people as you’re able.” Or “try to talk to a wide group of people if you can, but not so many that you fry your circuits or dilute the talking to the point of meaninglessness.”
In other places, like a dance club, it’s easy to chat for a few minutes and then make “friends”. But most of those people you never see or talk to again. It takes actual work to develop and continue a friendship.
So many of us come to SL in stolen minutes from FL. Even if it’s a lot of “stolen minutes,” we still have the uncertainty of not knowing when we’ll be available or for how long. Do I really have time to talk to my friend when my 300,000 item inventory is in such desperate need of sorting? Playing Barbie is a very demanding job!
And More Gifts
After I finished admiring my sweet new hair from Jerae, Masha sent me new hair too!
((maybe my hair’s just in bad shape and everyone’s trying to save me!?!?))
I love playing “Secret Santa”. Whenever anyone is organizing one, I always sign up. But no one really needs one more polyester catsuit to toss on their virtual laundry pile. Perhaps we should play Secret Santa not for virtual goods, but for “Time Dollars”, where we take people out for coffee, or dancing, or art gallery viewing, or sim exploring.
So, that’s it.
I’m going to strive for a year of
- as little complaining as possible
- as little of the virtually frustrating as possible
- as much actual time with actual friends as possible
- as much time as possible with people who aren’t friends yet, but might become friends
Sounds easy! Obvious! Hardly even necessary to say!
We’ll see! 😛
I’ve worn many hats and tried on many identities as an avatar. I’ve been young and I’ve been old. Skinny and full-figured. Black and white. And red and green. A cheerleader and a derby girl. A barista and a host. I’ve seen so much love and beauty, so much desire, so much hunger for love and connection in the virtual world. I’ve seen that hunger and need expressed in unhelpful and destructive ways. Ways that can make living in this world as frustrating as living in the first life we came from. I’m touched by the tiny acts of kindness that surround us every day. If we can make it here, we can make it anywhere.