I had just turned 18 when I entered Second Life. Today is my 23rd birthday, and I'm all grown up. I thought that I was already a big girl at 18, having put away childish things. But, I did a lot of growing in those intervening years. Now, when I look back at my 18 year old self, I realize that she was only on the verge of adulthood and not quite there yet, no matter how much she thought otherwise. That's what I would tell all the younger teens who are now allowed to reside in Second Life. And, I was fortunate in Second Life to have a wonderful circle of friends, naturally older than myself, I was 18 after all. In my circle were notable role models whose examples influenced my attitude and behavior in this virtual world. Still others were mentors and protectors who shielded me from the dark sides of Second Life. Someone once remarked that I was like a princess with knights in her service. They reinforced my conviction that you should never compromise your values in virtual worlds and loose your soul to their underside. Well, I am a big girl now, and Second Life had a not so small role in paving my way to adulthood. So a lesson to younger people in Second Life - choose your friends well. Of course, your parents have already told you that.
Click on the pictures to enlarge them for better viewing.
My dear Grandmother loved to play the piano and entertain us with song. At family events, she would always sing an old Shaker tune - Simple Gifts. It became my birthday song. And, on every birthday, its lovely melody brings me to contemplate the simple gifts that I have been blessed to receive - the Love of God, the Love of Family, and the Love of Friends. So simple and so precious. They sustain me in this life and give me hope for the next. And on this my 23rd birthday, I invite all of you to please join me in a toast to simple gifts.