As I write this, it is a cold (-9°C/16°F) 4:45 a.m. on a Sunday morning, November 1st, here in Winnipeg. I am exhausted—emotionally, mentally, and physically—and yet I am unable to find comfort in sleep. Tossing and turning, I finally give up and go to my computer.
Some people use their insomnia to read or meditate, or perhaps play a game of solitaire. Me, I do what I usually do when I can’t sleep: I turn on CalmRadio.com to the Spa stream of soothing music, load up my main Second Life avatar, Vanity Fair, and continue to weed through the very oldest items in her voluminous, 241,601-item inventory, trying on and deciding whether to keep decade-old apparel, footwear, and accessories, or throwing the items away, knowing I’ll never, ever wear them again.
And aaaaah, yes, the irony does not escape me that I, infamously relaxed housekeeper that I am (“slob” is such an ugly word), that I am spending the wee hours of my morning cleaning and organizing Vanity’s virtual wardrobe, while a large pile of Ryan’s real-life unfolded and un-put-away laundry sits next to his bed, his unironed dress shirts are hanging from his exercise cycle, and several towers of dirty dishes and unwashed pots rest on his kitchen counters and in his sink, just waiting to be loaded into my dishwasher.
Why do I do this? Why do I make these choices?
Well, Second Life is one of those hobbies which occupies my time, generates a flow state, and makes me feel happy, and I need to find those happy places wherever I can find them lately, in these distressing and disorienting times. When I clean my apartment, fold my laundry or load my dishwasher, my mind tends to wander, and I tend to get stuck in a dark cloud of anxiety, despair, or depression, despite my best efforts and intentions. Achieving a flow state, or a good mood, is something that I have decided that I want to maintain as a priority, so if something makes me feel good (or at least, feel better), I tend to do that first.
This is how I am choosing to cope during the coronavirus pandemic, and I am not going to beat myself up if I happen to have a pile of dirty dishes on the kitchen counter or dust bunnies hanging out in the corner of my bathroom. I am the one and only person around, and I will simply get to it when I get to it. If, at the end of my day, I have not disappeared into the black pit of depression, then I consider that day a success, regardless of how many crumbs lie under my kitchen table or how many dirty pots sit in my sink. I am choosing to focus on my mood, and to forgive myself for any misplaced priorities.
As you might know, the circumstances of my life and my career have unfortunately forced me to put the RyanSchultz.com blog on the back burner these past three months, while I attended to other projects, problems, worries, and crises, but it is now November 1st, 2020, and I am happy to say that I have successfully navigated through the huge pile of work that I have had to do, and met all the deadlines that I have had to meet.
I now have a blessed (and believe me, very much-needed) two-week vacation from my full-time paying job with my university library system. And I intend to use that time, not just to do a little housecleaning in Second Life and in real life, but also to attend to the somewhat neglected RyanSchultz.com blog.
Stay tuned for further announcements as I ponder and plan my next steps for the blog. The past three years have been an unexpected but wonderful adventure, and I cannot wait to see what the next three years will bring!
UPDATE 11:56 a.m. Well, after a good long sleep, I have finally loaded up my dishwasher with the first load of the day, and I am back at cleaning up my inventory.
This being the day after Hallowe’en, I leave you with yet another wonderful blast from the past from Vanity Fair’s ancient inventory that’s a definite keeper: this gothic Carmen-Miranada-esque Hallowe’en outfit from Comme Il Faut, complete with hat, hair, shoes, jewelry, and skull maracas! The only modern aspects of this avatar are my signature Catwa Kimberly head and Slink hands; everything else is system-layer clothing, prims, and flexiprims on a classic avatar. The outfit still holds up perfectly well after more than a decade.