Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tomorrow and Here

Time and Space, I've heard said, are not real. Having found my brain- heart- and soul-mate (oof, that sounds SO woo-woo!) in a virtual blues club on Second Life, I can tell you that they are. It's a long way from Washington state to Ontario.

Second Life's Juke Joint Blues was our meeting place. In case you haven't explored it or heard of it in the media, SL is an online 3-D, user-created international world, a real-time constantly growing chat room populated by upwards of 70,000 people's cartoon avatars ("residents") at any one time. (As an aside, and to see a piece of SL without joining, one of my favorite Youtube vids shows the making of Starry Night in-world, and can be seen here: ) [Aww... sadly, it has been removed by the artist. Well... for a quick overview, give this one a look: ]

While I've never built anything, nor spent a US$ in Second Life, over the past two years I've spent hours exploring, dancing, flying, teleporting and most of all, talking with people from all over the world. It can be an addictive place, SL--which it was. And it can grow tiring--which it has. There are folks of every sort in there... as far as your imagination can take you, that's where you can go. That's the good and the bad part. I met people with the kindest hearts. And people with a cruel streak. Brilliant minds. And so many lonely souls looking for connection, whether it be friendship, love, a virtual roll in the hay or exploring a lifestyle never dreamed of in real life. People "fall in love" daily in SL, get their real hearts broken, and some thrive on the drama of getting to be the star of their own soap opera. People meet in real life and get married, become friends or stalk each other.... And everything in between! It's an amazing world.....
One of my friends, Phydeau just left SL for good, and on his Profile, listed the things he learned in SL...
1. Many people in SL have troubled RL marriages.
2. A man who's polite, friendly, articulate, with a sense of humor, who doesn't pester women for cybersex, is a God among mortals in SL.
3. People with more realistic looking avs are generally more fun and interesting to talk to than people with Barbie'n'Ken avs.
4. There is no capability to verify honesty, fidelity, or loyalty in SL.
5. SL is real enough to create a desire for a relationship but not real enough to satisfy that desire.
6. SL is not a cross section of humanity, it's a subset of humanity that can sit at their PCs for hours typing and laughing.
7. You Never Know.
[Thank you Phydeau, for being my friend! Well said.....]

The one thing I do know, is after hours and hours of talking with my friend Kam in SL over the months, our friendship grew and real feelings expanded. It's been nearly a year of left and right coast trips every 6 to 8 weeks. Our love has grown and continues to amaze us. And tomorrow we get to be together again, this time for Christmas. We continue to work on just where we will be when we finally live together in real life... Soon! So believe me when I tell you that time and space exist. Perhaps not online... but most definitely here in this extremely real world.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A half of a century today -- thoughts on life

For years I thought to myself, Fifty is the half-way point. Past fifty I begin the downhill run. And then I met Pierre. He has a running joke (?) that he will live to 150. So perhaps today I am only 1/3 of the way through this life. Wiki says that the world's average life expectancy is 66.12 yrs--obviously varying greatly by where we live on the planet. The US is up there when it comes to lifespan... the CIA's estimate for 2008 is between 77.5 and 80 years. Canada is 80+. Makes me wonder whether socialized medicine has anything to do with that? The inability to "jump the queue" if you have the means to buy medical care, the evened-out playing field for the wealthy and the poor when illness strikes. Or perhaps it's the generally more gentle nature of our Canadian friends, the perceived lack of need for weapons to protect their families from the constantly televised violence in the US. Whatever the reasons, our northern neighbors get a few extra years on average. Then there are the extremes who live at the far ends of the bell curve... the young people who take their lives or die from diseases, in wars, or in accidents that break our hearts, the elders who outlive all of their peers. I am blessed with still having my 94 yr old Grampsy here. A powerful patriarch stubbornly holding onto his car keys. Resisting our family's loving urging to consider assisted living. He beats the odds daily, unfiltered Camels notwithstanding. And perhaps giving his family hope that we carry his long-lived genes as well as his stubborn streak.
This was the first year of my life I have spent my birthday celebrating
with my loved ones completely remotely. Phone calls, emails, Facebook, skype... I thank God for the technology that connects us and the people who love me and give the precious gift of their time. And once again I give thanks for the soft golden fur and the warm deep brown eyes of Porter without whom this day would certainly have been far more solitary.
The coming year looks to hold many changes-- for our world and for my personal journey --which I welcome with great anticipation. The myriad of unknowns is vast,
the list of details is sometimes daunting, and yet my hope and belief in a better future prevails. As one of my favorite teachers, Mary Morrissey has been known to say, "Go to the edge of the light you see and take the next step." Lord/Life/Universe... may my next 50 years hold even half as many blessings as the last, may I step forward fearlessly in faith and gratitude, and may I learn how to love more completely every day. And So It Is.....