I joined SL back in 2007 and after floundering around for about a year trying to figure how everything worked out - especially the residents - I became friends with a group of people who were beginning to mess around with building. It really was the best fun, I learned a lot about SL and also about other important things, such as the need to avoid drama, and not to take anything too seriously - especially myself.
I built a lot of warehouse/industrial stuff with broken windows and falling in roofs (remember lots of those kinds of builds back then) - those were the days of prims, textures and some sculpties. The prim was restricted to 10m sizes so the hunt for a stable 'giant prim' was real. The warehouses turned into grunge clubs and many evenings were spent lazing around, dancing, drinking (quite often in RL) and listening to music that wouldn't really have been played in my house RL. Discovering that art could be a huge part of SL experience was a real plus for me, hearing live music, acting out childhood fantasies as a vampire or a survivalist was 'laugh out loud' fun in RL as well as SL.
SL looked as though it was going to be something special, a good compliment to the hassles and constraints of RL (which wasn't bad either). I loved meeting people from around the world, the diversity of characters in SL is terrific, and as I never did the 'love/partner' thing I didn't worry too much about who anyone actually was in RL terms, people were people and SL was like a giant dolls house village for grown ups, I was of an older generation on SL and it was a sort of silly fun I thought I was way past and I loved actually learning new stuff and learning about places, things and music/art/literature I'd never have been exposed to in my RL. ?
I think it began to change for me around 2012, friends leaving, builds changing, somehow 'drama' seemed to be hard to avoid in clubland and leaked into every other area, so I gave the social side of SL a miss and tried other things. To be honest I missed the camaraderie and fun of discovering how to make builds better and then using them for great social events, showing off what I could do with pieces of plywood and paint, with additional sculpties for things that dressed the place.
The 'arrival' of mesh for me was a big thing in my SL experience, no longer were prim builds enough, mesh allowed builds that prim builders just couldn't achieve - especially with prim restrictions. I didn't want to learn blender, I didn't want to spend hours on a software programme, the whole point of SL was doing things inworld with other people and having fun with successes and disasters just the same. I bounced about SL for a bit, looking for new things to be interested in but gradually my time in SL became shorter and by 2014/2015 time spent in SL had dropped to maybe once a month just to nip about looking at the wonderful new builds and maybe have a chat with any old acquaintances who were online. Most of those were disappearing also, either to new identities or leaving SL like I was. 2015 was the last year I visited SL anyway regularly. in the past 3 years I think I've been online maybe half a dozen times.
Finding myself with a bit more free time on my hands in the last month or so, I made the journey back for a while anyway. It took me ages to remember how to work things, including viewer, and the mesh avi thing is a proper learning curve. The bigger tier free plot is great, prims can be almost any size (that had happened before I left) and for the moment relearning how to build is more fun than watching TV. I've already met some lovely and generous people (Rhonda sorted mesh out for me, I will be forever grateful) and although I'm not the most sociable of people (comes with age) I'm giving SL another try. After this week my time here is limited (I was never a 7 day week resident anyway) but I will be around and about a couple of evenings (UK time) most weeks and you might bump into me as I wander about looking for what is now the best of SL.
Making friends, well I always reckoned it was about doing stuff you actually like, not lying or creating false impressions, and keeping it light and cheerful and not trying too hard.
So hi everyone, maybe see you around inworld ?