The truth behind Pokemon GO: You have permission to be silly and creative

I get it. I really do. You’re contemplating using your $500 smart phone to play a child’s game and you’re not sure how to feel about this.

You want to look down your nose at all the groups running around having fun, but secretly you’re kind of jealous you’re not with them. You want to scream at people who are throwing caution to the wind, but you realize, while sitting at the red light, after 12 hours at the office and another two hours in traffic, you can’t remember the last time you went outside for anything other than picking up dog poo, and let’s face it, that isn’t the fun part of owning a dog.

Your skin is pasty, your vitamin D is low, you’re cranky, and you haven’t tried anything new since the twins were born. This is your life and it’s a good one. You are the perfect mother. You get up, get the kids ready, kiss your spouse, drop the kids off, drive to work, earn tons of money, and at the end of the day, you get to kick back in the very nice home you have worked so hard for. But you realize something is missing. You no longer have the spark you once had. You are no longer creative. Your life is on auto-pilot and for awhileDead inside meme that was just fine with you, but now, you feel dull and listless.

What is missing from your life is creativity, family time, and adventure. All the things you see others enjoying and you want that too. You see everyone talking about chasing fictional characters and at first you thought it was incredibly stupid, but 3 days into this craze, and you’re thinking there might be something to this mess.

You thought you could only get those things from a vacation, a trip to a museum, or an expensive hobby teaching you to meditate or paint pretty pictures while drinking wine. While all of those things are very nice, you know your whole family can’t do all those things together and many of those hobbies are inside, which is the exact opposite of what you’re looking for in a family adventure.

So, while you watch, with aggravation, those teens dangerously crossing the road or a group of adults running down the sidewalk, you reach over, touch your phone, and wonder if you can put aside you pride and join the outrageous fun too? Yes. Yes, you can.

You can be a professional adult and enjoy a child’s game. We humans are flexible like that.

How did you get here? Don’t worry. All of America, Australia, and the other early entry countries are wondering the same thing.

You probably ended up here just like the rest of us. You were curious, all your friends are doing it, and it’s free. It’s okay. We were all where you were too. We were also worried about safety and wasting time on another game app, which will probably lose popularity very soon.

>>> Break for a PSA <<<

Pokemon Memes

** Hint: As adults, there are very important safety measures to take while playing the game and I will cover these in an upcoming post, but, until then, just remember, all internet rules apply. Don’t tell strangers where you are and don’t send out beacons to your location. If you follow normal internet safety rules, the game is fun and educational. **

>>>> Back to regular programming <<<

You thought you were immune to fads such as this. You thought you were above childish games. You thought you were a mature, accomplished, professional adult, secure in your dislike for silly smart phone apps. Oregon Trail was the last video game you played and even then you only played it because it was educational.

Now, you’re bombarded with this Pokemon craze and you wonder is this is a good thing or a bad thing? But you have no clue how to find out without looking dumb.

There you are. You’re at work, minding your own business, and all of a sudden someone is standing over your shoulder. Jim, from sales, runs over to your cubicle, gleefully pointing his phone directly at your desk, pushing buttons on his screen, and having a complete conversation with an entity you can’t see. His smiles and says, “Gotcha!” He smiles at you, turns around, and goes about his day like nothing happened. You’re completely shocked. You look at your desk, you look to where he stood, you look back at your desk, and you shake your head in disbelief. You go back to typing that boring sales report wondering what in the hell just happened.

You stop and stare at your computer and think about this a moment.

One thing you noticed is Jim’s smile. Jim hasn’t smiled since the Bush administration, and after all this time, you’re not sure which Bush made him smile, but you’re pretty sure Jim Grumpy old man memeonly smiles when he hears the name Bush or Reagan, and only in the context of politics, never concerning the movies President Reagan was in, which Jim denies ever happened.
You know Jim never leaves his own area to visit other co-workers, even when Sally went into labor at her desk, or when Jack jumped on a table and proposed to Diane, Jim kept to himself, like a hamster on a wheel, continuing to stare at his work with all the joy and happiness of Eeyore. You know you’ve never seen him move very fast. He never moves faster than his chair can roll him from his desk to his filing cabinet. He is still famous for rolling his chair all the way to the break room, on the second floor, just so he didn’t have to break in a new pair of shoes. Seeing him up and moving, and of all things, smiling, baffles and almost scares you.

So, what is this Pokémon Go stuff? Why are grown, normally professional, adults, running around parks, stores, and even bathrooms, capturing invisible creatures which went out of style years ago?

You can’t escape the information. It’s on social media, it’s in the news, and everyone at work is discussing their levels, gyms, and fun family outings they have planned. Between the wars, deaths, and horrors of the world, there are these stories of people getting out of their homes for the first time, families walking together, and groups forming for friendship and collecting creatures.

How can you ignore all this wonderful fun? You realize you can’t.

You look around, grab your purse, sneak to the bathroom, check each stall, and secure the lock in the stall farthest from the door. You reach in your purse, slowly retrieve your phone, and with shaky hands, you log into your app account. You almost change your mind. Your finger is right above the install button and you are more than ready to forget this whole mess and go back to work (this is your lunch hour… Yes, of course it is).

You look at your phone and remember the smile on Jim’s face. You want that feeling. You want what he has. Life has been so burdensome lately and business reports sure aren’t making you feel silly or inspired anymore. What could it hurt just to try it this once?

You wrestle with the decision. You think, “How will it look for a professional woman driving all over town playing a silly child’s game? Would you still be respected if you asked your kids to catch Pokemon while you drive?” When could you play the game and not look silly? No one will have to know. You can play it a few minutes during lunch or on your walk after work. If this isn’t for you, you could always quit. You can always delete the app from your phone and there will be no trace you ever played. No one would be the wiser.

We’ve been right where you are.

If it makes you feel any better, there are reports of this game helping with depression, bringing people together, getting people out of the house, and yes, you did read the news correctly, someone did find a dead body while out hunting Pokeman. But think about this, had the woman not been hunting Pokeman, it may have been months or years before the man was found. At least now his family has closure. This game brought a family closure so they can move on with grieving. That is a wonderful outcome.

Being the person you are I’m sure you know people live longer and much happier and healthier lives when they have social groups to spend time with and get at least 15 minutes of sun a day. Well this game takes care of those issues all in one app.

You can set up times when you and your family go walking, and the kids will certainly want to go with you. Being the professional that you are, you could even set up a reward system for your kids on how far they walk and how many times they walk with friends and family.

You can set up competitions in your household and with other neighbors. You can plan backyard parties where others can come to your home and capture the Pokemon which live in your bushes and your pool. Maybe your neighborhood could plan progressive dinners, and each group captures Pokemon at each location. Make the games about growing and sharing. Your children and neighbors will see you as creative and fun.

Make plans to take the family to a bigger city and see all the wonderful sites around town. Make it a point to stop by each major site featured on the game and take the time to go in and shop, or if it’s museum, go see something new.

While having fun, don’t forget the wonderful photography function of the game. It’s really my favorite part of the whole game. Catch Pokemon doing all kinds of crazy stuff and add
your children and pets to the fun set up. Challenge your children, friends, and neighbors to wacky photo competitions.

IMG_0892

See more of my own examples here:

https://gritshugsandsweettea.com/2016/07/11/pokemon-go-the-game-thats-fun-for-everyone-as-long-as-you-look-where-youre-going/

Life is hard enough as it is. Plus, there is always so much sadness in the news, give yourself permission to be fun, silly, and childlike, even if it’s only for a few minutes a day. It’s good for your health, and happiness, and the happiness of your family too.

As you stand there, wondering if you are ready to jump on the bandwagon of a silly game, turn around, check your hip. See that small rose tattoo right at the edge of your smart $200 dress pants? Remember the fun of being young, carefree, and creative? You can have that again. It’s time to bring back a little silliness in your life. Plus, an app isn’t a forever reminder of your college trip to Vegas.

Now, go ahead, push install, and then go steal all Jim’s Pokemon! Who knows? He might smile knowing someone has come to visit him for a change.

 

Until next time…be safe, be kind, and always be happy.

 

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