I sort of suspected this would happen eventually. Second Life has found me, and my dormant virtual world has collided with my real one. Comments from Second Life residents have been popping up here for the past few days, too, so my virtual life is entering my real one, even though I am officially on Second Life hiatus.
For all intents and purposes, after two years of working in and blogging about the virtual world of Second Life, I basically logged out one day and never really returned. This was not intentional. In fact, at the time this happened, I was mulling over a major decision: whether to pack in all my day jobs and do Second Life full time.
I was making good money in Second Life, although not nearly as much money as the linked magazine excerpt mis-quotes me as saying I made. Looking at the spreadsheets, though, it was pretty easy to see that I could make being a full time SL developer pay reasonably well if I thew all my eggs into a virtual basket. It was an amazingly cool, if slightly scary, prospect.
There were a lot of implications around this decision, however; not just the immediate financial ones, but longer term ones like qualifying for a mortgage when we were ready, and questions around pensions – an issue for me because of my late arrival, in terms of work history and taxation, in Ireland. Additionally, there was a lot of conversation about what to do if Second Life kicked the bucket as a platform – what skills would be translatable, if any, to the real world job market and how one might address that on a resume.
It was not, in short, simply a question of doing what I loved and hoping the money would follow.
Then three things happened that made the decision even harder:
- Second Life introduced something called sculpted prims, which to make a long story short, would have required me to learn proper 3D modeling in something like Blender, preferably very quickly. I have never used a 3D modeling program and this seemed very challenging – and not in a good way.
- The value of the US dollar, which is the currency you convert Second Life earnings into, began to fall against the euro, the currency in which I live my life and pay my bills. The spreadsheet began to look a little less healthy.
- I was hired as a technical editor for a Second Life book from a major publisher about which I was initially very excited but ultimately quite meh about. I struggled, a lot, with whether to withdraw from the project, and my hesitance began making my time in SL uncomfortable.
This all became moot when I became seriously ill. I do not want to get into the details of what happened, because it’s both personal and resolved, but any question of doing anything full time became moot for an extended period. After that, I needed to re-establish my real life client base and projects, and that’s where most of my energy has been focused since November. Which has, to be fair, left questions like the following open:
Salome and the others at Linden Lifestyles have been pretty much silent on when, or if, Sabrina is returning… While she never comes out and says it directly, I get the sinking feeling that Sabrina’s not planning on coming back to SL, at least in the near term.
To set the record straight, Salome, my Linden Lifestyles blogging partner, has been silent on this issue because Salome doesn’t know the answer to the question. But this seems like a good a time as any to say that yes, I am coming back; I never really intended to leave, but I do intend to return. Doing what and to what extent still needs to be sorted out, but hopefully will be clearer soon.
So anyway, if you see comments from people with odd names around this blog, it’s just my Second Life crashing into my first one. No doubt I’ll be returning to the virtual reality zoo shortly, and taking the weirdos with me.