Let us always remember that their wardrobe was better than Barbie’s

This may not be the first place you hear that Linden Lifestyles, which has been my favorite Second Life fashion site since I first knew there were Second Life fashion sites, is closing down (although leaving the archives up). But this post isn’t about fashion: it’s about endings. They scare me, frankly, which is good in a way (on which more in a moment). Every ending like this is only a change, a transformation into something new (in First Life, in Second Life…that energy and attention is going *somewhere*). But it’s also a death. It’s not the end of the world – unless whatever’s closing down happens to be your world in Second Life, in which case you have three choices: burn out, fade away, or dwindle and remain as a shadow of yourself.

Dancing with Wrath Ouranos, whose avatar is no more

Hmm, I hope I’m not sounding too grim here. Stick with me. I *think* this will get more cheerful.

In First Life, if I go to a great restaurant and there are only two other people eating there, I get worried. Will the restaurant have to close down? What will happen to the people who worked so hard to get the restaurant going in the first place? Won’t it leave a hole? And then when a place actually does close down, as often as not it does seem to leave a hole of some kind, for someone.

It’s the same in Second Life, when a favorite venue or store closes, or a Web site vanishes, or a blog dries up. You’ve invested part of yourself in whatever it is, and when the thing goes away, it takes that part of you with it.

The Diversionarium, when we first moved to Pandoria

The good thing about this is that loss and death and endings are a basic part of being alive, a condition of living. You get to exist only because you someday won’t – just like everything and everyone else. And in Second Life, that process is sped up, and we feel those losses more often, which gives us a chance to begin to understand them on a kind of a heart-and-soul level. For instance, when we closed down the Diversionarium (which may or may not be reopening in Extropia soon…if not, I’ll give it to someone else to open elsewhere!), it wasn’t as painful for me in some ways as if we had been closing down a First Life venue – but it was close. We had put a lot of good thoughts and hard work and long hours and innovation into the place, but we just couldn’t afford the time to maintain it any more, and so it ended. So with Linden Lifestyles. So with the store where I had my first Second Life fashion crush, Dazzle. So with the Second Life of my sweet and dear friend Endymion Rimbaud (who left without a goodbye, the crumbum!). So, in the end, with everything.

Endymion Rimbaud dancing at the Arabian Masque he and his lovely wife Fallon Claymore gave last year.

But the promise, the hope, is that by coping with loss and transience in Second Life, we become stronger and wiser about all of the loss and transience in all of our lives, First, Second, and whatever other ones we may conduct. Sadness is, or at least can be, a kind of crucible, in which our thoughts and emotions are refined and purified, our understanding of the world deepened.

I know, I know, I’m getting all funereal over the loss of a fashion site, which even the authors refer to as “playing virtual paper dolls and writing about it.” I think if it never felt like a place where people were coming alive, getting excited about others’ creativity, relishing their virtual freedom, letting their playful nature out to romp, then it would be an unimportant loss, a blink, taking down an advertisement. But as it is, it feels worth a bit of mourning to me, and I think it earns any of us who loved it a glimpse of things more profound.

^^^\ Kate /^^^