Serendipity, or what's in a name?

To name something defines it, gives it it’s own distinct existence. Perhaps no accident then, that the very first thing we do, on entering Second Life, is to name our avatar.

Back in 2009, when I first rezzed inworld, the process was that the resident would choose their own first name, then select a second name from a Linden Labs provided list. This list of second names was designed to ensure that each resident had a unique identity, but also served to create some sense of family, since, although there would never be another avatar with your exact combination of first and second names, surnames were shared.

I chose the name Beatrice because I had recently learned that my paternal grandmother, who I never met, was called that. I have always thought it a pretty name, but had no idea what it meant. I later learned that it means “blessed voyager; she who brings happiness”. How lovely, and how apt for someone entering a new world, eager to explore and find all it has to offer.

When I scanned the extensive list of available second names I had no doubt whatsoever when my eyes fell on “Serendipity” that this was to be my avatars name. It just felt completely right. Serendipity means “a talent for making fortunate discoveries while searching for other things, or an occurrence of such” A posh way of saying “a lucky coincidence” I guess. And, given all that Second Life has brought me, again strangely appropriate – serendipitous, even!

When I look back over my two and a half years in Second Life, I can see many ways this name has in some way shaped and influenced my journey…not least by creating in me a sense of blessedness, and openness to lucky meetings and encounters. My first home, a little skybox, was given to me, completely free and with no strings attached, by an avatar called Lucky who I bumped into, quite literally, at a dance club. One of my best and longest standing friendships has been with someone I met when I teleported into what had been a favorite sim, only to find it was now a clothing store.

But without a doubt most fatefully, when I was hanging out very late one night at Frank’s Jazz Bar, I got an instant message from another Londoner, who said “You’re up late!” I was in the throes of a doomed Second Life romance at the time, and definitely not looking for any kind of involvement. But he was friendly and very funny, and we struck up a conversation. It turned out we lived only a few miles apart, and after a couple of months of inworld friendship, we agreed to meet, no strings attached, for a walk around London’s old East End. I already knew he was a lovely man, but I hadn’t expected the chemistry between us to be so hot! 18 months later, we’re living happily together with our two cats, and I have never been more content in love. And if that’s not an incredibly lucky and totally unexpected coincidence, I don’t know what is!

Another lovely moment of serendipity was a couple of weeks back, when, dancing at a fashion party, I got and instant message from a lady called Cleopatra Xigalia, who said “I just released a gown with your name! Would you like one?”. A few seconds later the Serendipity Gown by Cleo Couture landed in my inventory. We struck up a conversation, and it turns out that she too had met her real life partner (who actually designed the gown) in SecondLife! A lovely lady, with a great sense of humour, and a fabulous store as well.

So this is Serendipity – a gorgeous gown in glistening gold that will make you feel like an old fashioned movie goddess when you wear it, from Cleo Couture. And hopefully, it will bring you luck too!

I’m fascinated to hear other people’s stories of how they chose their names, and how, if at all, that choice has influenced their experience of Second Life. What’s your name? How did you choose it? How do you feel it has impacted on your second life? Tell me in comments below…


  1. Hey Bea,

    I love this post. Names are so important. They define us. I chose the name Occasus, pronounced (Oh-Cass-Us) when I first joined. It was actually a nickname of endearment given to me by one of the greatest people I know. The name Occasus is a Latin word for "The setting of the sun." When he christened me with that nickname, I was going through some major overhauls in my RL and it was very suited for me. The sun was setting on one stage of my life and a new one was just beginning. I felt it very fitting that the name Occasus be my Second Life name as I was embarking on something new. I never knew that I'd stick around for 5 years, or that I would have so much fun in SL. The name is just a part of me now. I can't imagine ever trading in my avie Occasus Jayaram for a new one. It just wouldn't feel right.


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