I was listening to my new girl-crush, Arianna Huffington (really! she is so very wise!) about her latest book Thrive. During her interview with Sheryl Sandberg at the Commonwealth Club, she talks about how the success dynamic in our culture is focussed on 2 metrics: power and money, yet there is a third metric that most of us are completely missing the boat on. This third metric is a general sense of living “the good life”, and one of the four pillars she proposes make up this third metric is something I think most of us have long stopped experiencing: wonder.
Wonder is defined as “a feeling of amazement and admiration, caused by something beautiful, remarkable, or unfamiliar.” When I think of wonder, I think of children lost in their secret worlds of play. I don’t know about you, but when I hear the words “secret worlds of play” what do you think pops into my head? Of course! Second Life.
I naturally think of Second Life as having this incredible potential for stimulating wonder, and yet I realised that personally I have not yet fully succumbed to this dynamic. I am very new to Second Life. Oddly it never occurred to me that after hitting Welcome Island, I might simply start anew with life. Maybe it’s because I resisted the “Second Life” concept before I became involved in the platform. I found it presented me with the idea that there may be something wrong or missing in my first life, so much so that I would need to go out, find another life and start all over again. So maybe in disliking the name, I also threw away the potential upside of having a whole new side of myself to explore. A possibility of getting lost in the beautiful and unfamiliar.
So no, I must admit, I was not a captain of hedonistic pursuits or a trailblazing psychological adventurer… at first. Instead of building a “second” life I felt compelled to almost bring my first one in with me. I didn’t even really think about it. I just did it. I set about finding an avatar that looking somewhat like me, dressing like I do in RL, and getting my social media all sorted out, so that I felt like my avatar had some kind of home base to spring forth from!
This idea of reproducing my first life thing, didn’t really cross my mind until a few weeks in, once I had gone through the startup pains of getting my basics sorted. I was so busy with learning how to walk, dress, emote, buy stuff, TP, etc., that I didn’t slow down to ask a very basic question. Why am I even here?
I laughed out loud when I realised that in a world where anything, literally anything is possible, I have been busying imbuing my second life with the trappings of my first.
And that was it. All of a sudden a thousand ideas came crashing against each other in my mind. Ooh what if I could have another life? What would I try? What would I change? Who could I be? I loved the idea! I couldn’t believe I had limited my vision to only that which was possible and known in the real world. Such a wasted opportunity! And in an instant my mind changed as to what I was doing here.
All aboard! First stop: wonder!