I was browsing the blogs today. You do this by opening a blog you know about, then clicking an interesting link they've posted to another blog, and so on. One can wander rather far afield, but one also can find some very worthwhile food for thought.
I don't normally follow Botgirl Questi's blog, although I have certainly seen it mentioned by others, and I know that Botgirl is one of the more prolific commentators on Second Life. Today I wound up on her pages, and I'd like to share this snippet of her entry for February 7:
"...we often choose careers based on our socio-economic status rather than the urging of our passionate interests. We hurry into marriage and parenthood due to social pressure and our perception of cultural norms. We bite our tongues, hide our freaky sides and generally conform to the acceptable standards of our social circles and professions. And we die with regrets.
"One of the benefits of pseudonymous virtual identity is the safe space it offers to pursue our dreams, not to pretend to be something we're not, but to express aspects of ourselves that have not been fully manifested. For instance, Second Life has been a place where many of us have developed or reclaimed our identities as artists. People who left pencils and paint brushes behind in grade school now routinely create work that's shared with an international audience. Best of all, we don't have to leave our families behind and run off to Paris. We can have our cake and eat it too."
Thank you, Botgirl, that is eloquently put. This is, indeed, the greatest benefit of virtual worlds. While I agree with you almost completely, honesty compels me to point out one limiting factor: time. The time we spend in our virtual life is time that is not spent on our Real Life. So there is, as it were, a tradeoff. While we are eating one piece of cake, another is going untasted.
Enjoy your Second Lives, all of you. Explore those paths that you turned aside from in Real Life. But be careful to maintain a balance, OK?