“You need to get out more.”

If you’re navigating the endless currents of the internet sea, chances are you’ve heard that a fair share of times. Whether it comes from friends, relatives, or a random wisdom-sponge, the phrase is eternal.

While the opener is always the same, the retort allows for a lot of creativity. Regardless of what one says in response, however, the conversation-starter tends to react predictably.

“You’re missing out on life.”

Well, who isn’t? Unless you’re stinking rich (in which case I want to know your secret), most of one’s time is spent making ends meet anyway. Chasing deadlines. Waiting for payments. Learning something new so you can add more deadlines. Repeat. Compared to the total number of hours in a day, moments of respite are brief. And then some joker comes and tries to tell you what to do with your free time. Why?

Options abound. Anything one can think of, one can find in some form. Films. Books. Games. Stories of all kinds. The real world barely has a chance. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I get out far too much, and I force myself into more physical activity than I will ever need. But the way I choose to unwind has always been my own. And it will always remain my own.

I have visited Venice as Ezio Auditore. I have robbed Camorr with Locke Lamorra. I have stopped a god of mischief alongside Scarlett Johansson. And I will do a lot more. Until visiting Taj Mahal becomes cost-effective, the virtual and the imaginary will always be preferable to the so-called real. And I have no problem with that.

Compared to the content, the emotional density, and the level of engagement I can squeeze out of a particularly well-crafted piece of media, a regular night out is a dreadful bore. What are the other options? A crowded place with music so loud the bass drowns out my voice? Getting drunk out of my mind? A great equalizer between me and someone with absolutely nothing to say. No, thank you. I’ll stay at home and entertain myself. Everyone feeling the same way is more than welcome to join me.

After all, life is what we feel. Is it any less real if it’s someone’s creation? I don’t think so. After all, a good chunk of the world believes that someone consciously created it.

Create your own worlds, my friends.

M. T. Miller


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