Taking A Vacation From SL

by Alphaville Herald on 05/10/07 at 6:44 am

Too much of a good thing?

by Lacie Babenco

Computer_002About 4 weeks ago, I came to the conclusion that I needed to take a break from my time in Second Life. Why? Simply put, I was feeling my RL was run down in general and realized I needed to refocus and re-prioritize how I did things to regain my energy.

So, I did what I thought was right by telling as many of my SL friends that I was taking a break for a few weeks. A night of goodbye hugs and well wishes exchanged, made me feel sad actually but I got a glimpse that I was not alone, many told me they had seen others struggle to find balance just like I was. Some emails and a simple notecard to all those I didn’t see covered my bases with most of the rest. Most were supportive, hoping something bad hadn’t happened in SL but, as I told everyone, I was feeling pretty crispy in RL and needed some time away.

My first reality check was when I took stock in all the things that I was doing connected with SL, and found a mountain! It was deep enough that I decided to list all the things I had associated with SL. From emails to blogs to SL Exchange and some of the news sites (sorry SL Herald!), I had 12 links in all that I was a “regular” visitor of. The ease of plugging in really can be overwhelming.. I Googled “Second Life Blogs” and got nearly 245 Million results! I know it’s skewed by a general term like “blog” but still, anything with Second Life is heavy with results.

On the flip side, I made a list of all the things that might be suffering due to my time spent in SL. Sleep was number one on that list, followed by my suffering workout routine. Keeping up with my friends around the globe makes staying up late tempting but the price is damn steep! I’m a night owl typically and logging on in the evening and found it hard to log off in the name of a good nights sleep. The first night away I slept like a baby and was able to get out of bed and rediscover the workout routine I had shelved because of my previous fatigue. The snooze button on my clock has now become a stranger to me.

Staying “out” of Second Life proved much harder than I had thought but the benefits in RL came fast once I did. Immediately, I felt better physically with working out. The regular pattern of checking all the bookmarks was tough to cut off. Each day, I basically checked fewer and fewer sites by burying a few each day. My substitute for these links was to resurrect the old, non-Second Life links I had pushed down on my list. The SL links went quiet over time.

At work, I’d still check my emails with my in-world friends a few times a day but I vowed, no other sites while at work!
One temptation I fell victim to was the “work-at-home-but-play-SL-during-the-day” syndrome. So many of us have the ability to work from home these days now, I have stopped this practice totally. If I’m at home, and I decide to log in, I’m officially “taking the day off”. This limits the temptation for me to really abuse a freedom that my job in RL affords me.

My free time focused on physical well being, family, friends, hobbies and my career. Everything benefited from it and my energy level shot back up quickly. The plan to return came to me rather quickly at this point; I would log on only when everything else in RL was settled for the day. Second Life would be just that – second to my real life. Charlie Brown sigh, seems so obvious doesn’t it?

So after 2 weeks, I fully ventured back in. The welcome from my friends was positive but with a few twists. Plenty of very happy “welcome backs!” and “missed u” comments felt great. But, there were a few smart-ass ones mixed in “you were gone?” and “back already?” Ah, my friends.

The most interesting part of taking the “break” is that I have a bunch of friends, and even a few friends of friends, ask me what it was like to be away, how I coped and that they felt they might be addicted to SL. It’s almost like there is a natural progression for many people in-world to struggle with balancing RL and SL. Everyone wanted to know if I had advice on how to do it with success. I wish I had some sort of winning program, a “Stop the Insanity” for SL “addiction” but, I don’t.

If you feel like you’re spending too much time in SL, maybe what I suggested could help? I found that making a list of all the SL related activities I was doing really opened my eyes to how deep into it all I was, for better or worse. With a pretty full RL to keep me grounded, I was able to quickly get back to what I had “pre-SL” but I was no “Cold Turkey” success story. Now, when I come back in-world, it’s at times I schedule. My friends have been very supportive of the fact that I may not be on each and every day. As for late nights, well, I can do one from time to time but it’s also part of a schedule. Last thing I need is my face imprinted with a keyboard pattern from passing out at the ‘puter.

So to all those who asked, that’s what I did. No magical program, no 12 steps, if anything, rediscover the foundation you have in RL and back out with baby steps and then decide when and how you want to return. Common sense rules the day, sometimes even in SL.

12 Responses to “Taking A Vacation From SL”

  1. Jenny Raymaker

    Oct 5th, 2007

    So I’m not the only one who feels their life sometimes revolves around SL? Phew! What with running a sim, hanging out with friends, designing animations, building stuff, reading the Herald, working on my blog and so on ad nauseum, I can see exactly where you are coming from!

    I have taken a few days off here and there in the past and yes, I think it can be refreshing. But recently I’ve taken on so many projects in-world that maybe I have been a little over-involved.

    Yes! Time for another holiday I think. I wonder though if my RL client software is still up to date?

  2. Marc Woebegone

    Oct 5th, 2007

    Vacation no more!

    Smile, I’m done with my sabatical from Second Life, and now onto more fun things….

    Linden Research, Inc., Philip Rosedale, and Marc Bragg have agreed to settle the “Bragg v. Linden and Rosedale” lawsuit currently pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The parties agree that there were unfortunate disagreements and miscommunications regarding the conduct and behavior by both sides and are pleased to report that Mr. Bragg’s “Marc Woebegone” account, privileges and responsibilities to the Second Life community have been restored. For the benefit of the Second Life community, the Parties have mutually agreed that the terms of their resolution shall remain confidential. The Parties ask that this confidentiality be respected.

    Prokofy…. you big butt! Eat your heart out!


  3. Lewis Nerd

    Oct 5th, 2007

    Who let that lawyer in here?

  4. Alazarin

    Oct 5th, 2007

    Oh noes….. an internet lawyer 0.0

  5. DaveOner

    Oct 5th, 2007

    hehe SL is a vacation from RL for me! I have too much stressful shit going on IRL that makes it so hanging out in SL is about all I can afford right now. I’m essentially laying low, paying off debts and getting other issues settled. Barring SL breaking I figure I have about 1 or 2 more years of SL left in me. After that I’m back to travelling!

    I know how you feel, though. I’ve taken a few breaks from SL to avoid burning out.

  6. Second Lulz Vigilante

    Oct 5th, 2007


  7. Die Scumbag Lawyer Die

    Oct 5th, 2007

    Marc ‘PleaseBeGone’


  8. Nacon

    Oct 5th, 2007

    Ok? bye? Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

  9. d3adlyc0d3c

    Oct 7th, 2007

    I just snorted a really fat line of coke. I can’t feel my nose.

  10. Witness X

    Oct 7th, 2007

    My first reality check was when I took stock in all the things that I was doing connected with SL, and found a mountain! It was deep enough that I decided to list all the things I had associated with SL. From emails to blogs to SL Exchange and some of the news sites (sorry SL Herald!), I had 12 links in all that I was a “regular” visitor of. The ease of plugging in really can be overwhelming.. I Googled “Second Life Blogs” and my mom got scared and said “youre moving with your aunte and uncle in bel-air!” I whistled for a cab and when it came near the licensplate said fresh and had a dice in the mirror. If anything I could say that this cab was rare. But I thought now forget it, yo home to bel-air! I pulled up to a house about seven or eight and I yelled to the cabby yo, home smell you later. Looked at my kingdom I was finally there, to settle my throne as the failure of bel-air.

  11. Aya P

    Oct 9th, 2007

    I have taken about 2 months off to focus on more important things. SL became a job in itself and I felt more pressured than I did with my real job. I am back to SL but not as much as I was. Sadly the friends I had, all had snubbed me because of my vacation. But then again its second life…so I am not worried about the consequences of vacationing to my 1st life.

  12. Anon

    Oct 15th, 2007

    I’m posting here anonymously because I am a prominent business owner in Second Life, and I’m not ready for my unmasking, so to speak. Thank you for this article. Many points I identified instantly with, and I applaud further study into Second Life becoming an addiction problem for some people. Like so many others, each day I log in for my Second Life fix, and I justify the obscene time spent in Second Life through my business, which also happens to be very successful. But that doesn’t remove an underlying problem, the fact that I recognise I need to log in each day.

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