By now, most of us are either playing or have heard of Pokémon Go. It’s crazy to see that the love for catching adorable little critters and sharing that experience with friends has come back with such fervor. For a lot of us, Pokémon was a huge part of our childhood. I don’t need to go into detail about it. We remember the thrill of trying to catch ‘em all. We remember swapping Pokémon with our friends, hoping they’d have the Pokémon we needed to complete our collection. We remember the feeling of connection we had with other players, of going to the local Toys “R” Us and battling it out with our fellow trainers so we could earn a gym badge. Those were great times and I’m glad that people are being reminded of that.
Over the past couple days, I’ve seen the critics arise to smash down the joy that has become Pokémon Go. They ask, “What the hell is the point?” “Why waste your time on something so stupid?” “Oh great, now they just have another reason to keep their noses stuck to their phones.” “I’m an ADULT. I don’t have time to act like I’m five again.”
To these people, these critics that simply think it’s a waste of time and that you’re too much of an adult to do such things, I pity you.
Over the past week, I’ve seen pure joy. People are leaving their homes and exploring their towns, their cities. I see groups of people walking the streets, looking around with a smile on their face as they try to find another Pokémon. I see people, recognizing that look on a fellow trainers face, and stopping them to ask about their experiences. I see interaction. I see strangers that would have never spoken to each other otherwise standing on the street and swapping stories about where they went and what they’ve caught so far. I’ve seen people making friends.
In a world filled with violence and cruelty, in a world that we’ve been taught to fear, isn’t it a breath of fresh air to see strangers coming together and interacting, even if the cause is for a game? Isn’t it nice to see people out and about, even if it’s with a phone in hand? At least they have a smile on their face.
Getting old is, unfortunately, not a choice. Aging isn’t something we can stop. It happens to all of us. We have responsibilities. We have crippling debt, children, spouses and jobs that sometimes feel like they are taking more of our soul than it’s worth. We get so caught up in being adults that we sometimes forget the beauty of being a child. We forget to laugh and play and enjoy life the way children do. We forget to explore, to interact and to accept others without our silly adult judgement getting in the way.
Getting old may not be a choice, but acting old is. I, for one, choose to stay a child at heart. And for the hundreds of Pokémon Go players I see exploring the town with a smile on your face, I’m glad you’ve chosen to stay that way too. Go catch ‘em all!