Though the bad times and the good times, I have not been away from this virtual world more than a few days. It's like an extension of my life, although only my family knows about it because I don't know if my real life friends would understand why I would want to spent all my hours in a virtual world and I don't feel like I should explain to them or defend myself.
It started because I was bored and I wanted to pretend to be someone else and for the first 4 years, I spent my time in roleplay sims. I now think it was a waste of time because although it was supposed to be roleplay, people being people, takes things too seriously, myself included.
I'm happier now that I don't have to 'act'. I have time to learn to build and this creativity is one of the most satisfying thing that has come out of my virtual world experience.
I'm helping my very close friend with his club and that's something I never imagined I would experience.
One thing I learned about this virtual world, people are the same as in real life. If you are not careful, you will be used and abused and stepped on and stabbed in the back. And because of all these negativity, people are now not as open or friendly as they once were.... myself included.
And yes, SL can just be as lonely as the real world.