Lately I’ve been avoiding the blinking cursor on a blank page. Y’all know I go through spells of silence so that’s not really new… but lately, I’ve been seeing life lessons in the strangest of places.. and the thought occurred to me that I could share.
Last week… maybe the week before actually, my Facebook feed BLEW UP. Not with political rantings – although those were there. Not with horrible news stories that incite anger and emotions from all over the globe although those were present too… no, my feed blew up about Pokemon Go.
My first thought was “What the ever-loving hell is this?” because I REMEMBER my first introduction Pokemon… and was absolutely not interested. I was in high school I think. Clearly way too busy being cool for something like that. I remember my second introduction to Pokemon… when my mini decided that was the coolest thing ever and wanted to spend his allowance every time we went to Target on new cards. I have a stack somewhere.
So now for round three and I hung on to the belief that this was stupid and a waste of time. Nothing like the time I gladly waste crushing candies and rescuing pets on my phone during breaks from work and when I’m procrastinating chores…
Life Lesson #1 – It’s ok to admit when you’re wrong
I was wrong. This game that has taken the world by storm is a LOT of fun. My friends are secretly (and not so secretly) smirking that I waited so long to join their ranks but you know what, when you stick to your guns and hold onto silly beliefs out of pride and ego, you never know what you’re going to miss out on.
Life Lesson #2 – Don’t judge something you know nothing about
True in Life: How often do we hear stories about hate and think – they fear what they don’t understand? Maybe it’s just me, but if we all took a moment to truly understand someone or something, maybe it wouldn’t be so foreign to us. It reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite books –
“When you really know somebody you can’t hate them. Or maybe it’s just that you can’t really know them until you stop hating them.”
― Orson Scott Card,
True in Pokemon: I judged. Oh how I judged…then I downloaded it. And started playing. And realized I had no clue just how much fun this could be.
Life Lesson #3 – Never be afraid to learn more about what you want
True in Life: I’ve met people in my life who could not admit that they didn’t know something. They would flounder or avoid things rather than to admit that they didn’t know … and then take that opportunity to learn.
True in Pokemon: I readily admit I know nothing. And you know what? That’s ok. Because there are a ton of people who DO know something about Pokemon. There are a ton of tutorials out there to bring you up to speed on all the ins and outs of how to get the most from your game. And when you know how to play, it’s that much more fun.
Life Lesson #4 – Find things you enjoy alone. AND Find things you can share with friends.
Most Saturday nights I’ve been spending chillaxing with some Netflix or a good book. Sometimes I just catch up on the sleep I’ve deprived myself of during the week. There’s nothing wrong with that.
This past Saturday night however, I met up with a dear friend and their amazing daughter and together we hunted in the park and the “downtown” square of our littler berg. And you know what? It was a LOT of fun.
Both have value. True in life. True in Pokemon.
Life Lesson #5 – When life gets sticky, it’s good to know who you can count on
While out cavorting on our hunt, we came across a patch of sticker burrs. These things hurt like the devil and while we adults handled the inconvenience of being stuck (and walking around with a splinter jammed in my finger) the way we adults handle such situations around those younger than us…
little bit on the other hand… she had no reason to hide her discomfort. And in true Daddy and Auntie fashion, we rose to the occasion. Daddy removed all the stickers and Auntie Shelley proceeded to piggy back her to safety. This little gal knows that when life gets sticky, she’s surround by people who have her back.
Life lesson #6 – Your success does not take away from my success
You know one of my favorite parts of this game? Catching a Pokemon doesn’t mean your friends can’t catch the same one. There are plenty for everyone. So there you are, huddled around Bob’s Catfish, catching Magikarp
(The irony is not at all lost on me) And every time another one pops up on your screen and it’s go time, your friends and perfect strangers are all getting the chance to score too. It’s not like a bargain basement sale on wedding dresses or a Black Friday sale that is too good to be true where someone is getting trampled because there are literally 3 for the crowds of 400 – there’s enough for everyone. You don’t have to feel jealousy or anger towards your people because my success doesn’t take away from yours.
Life Lesson #7 – Listen to your kids. They have something to teach us too.
Another conversation with another friend and I’m told “T said we could catch lots of water Pokemon if we went down by the San Gabriel River, but I told him I don’t think it works out that way…”
Actually, it does. Part of the genius around the Pokemon Go app is that a lot of the creatures are located near their “natural” habitats. So, no, you don’t HAVE to travel the world to catch them all, but you do have to look in different places. Which brings us to…
Life Lesson #8 – If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten
Isn’t that the definition of insanity? Oh sure, you can play just fine when you play from your driveway, the grocery store, and the local park. But the real perk of the game is to go out and explore your community and those around you. I’m not talking about venturing down dark alleyways – unless that’s your thing – but head out to a new park. Go explore a new shopping center. Walk around the downtown square of the town you’ve lived in for 3 decades and learn something new. The Pokestops are more than just a place to refill your ammunition, they are local landmarks and points of interest. Careful… you might learn something.
Life lesson #9 – There will always be those who cheat the system. That doesn’t mean it’s the best way.
During our weekend hunt, we were engaged in conversation with a young couple who were also on the hunt. He explained that he drives around all day at really slow speeds to hatch his eggs. (if you don’t play, that sentence makes absolutely no sense. I’m aware) There are plenty of YouTube videos and articles on how to cheat the system by attaching your phone to a fan or a toy train – yes those people ae cheating. (And possible risking permanent damage to their phone) but that doesn’t mean you have to follow suit. After all, when you cheat the system, you’re only cheating yourself.
Life Lesson #10 – You won’t get what you want by sitting on the couch wishing for it to happen
Look, we all know we don’t likely get enough exercise. Right? I mean I hit the gym a few times a week but still I know it’s not enough. I like my couch. It’s comfy. BUT… you won’t get very far in Pokeman Go (or life) if you just sit around wishing for things to change. But offer a hunt? Hell – we walked around for a good 2+ hours Saturday night. We worked up a sweat. We got some good exercise. And you know what? The time flew by and no one noticed.
Life Lesson #11 – Even when you do all the right things, that doesn’t guarantee success.
Over the last week, I’ve gotten pretty good at catching the little monsters. I have a rhythm down for when to launch and have a lot of luck when it comes to catching Pokemon… even still, I’m not always successful. So far there are two Pokemon that have escaped without making it into my pokedex… and countless other duplicates that have run away…
Life Lesson #12 – Not all battles should be fought. Know when to walk away.
Not only do you collect the Pokemon, you also battle in local “gyms.” But when you are going up against something with more than double your strength… Pick your battles.
Life Lesson #13 – Sometimes your success will bring out the worst in others. Try anyway.
What about you? Are you playing? What have you learned? And if you’re local, let’s have a play date and hunt together!!!