Lessons from Pokemon

By: Jeanne Reynolds

Maybe I’m getting old and grumpy, but most aspects of popular culture either pass me by or leave me cold. I don’t watch reality shows (unless you count cooking and sports). I’ve never seen Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad. I don’t recognize most of the “celebrities” in pokemonthe Sunday paper’s Parade magazine, the clothes and shoes in Glamour and Cosmo look really stupid to me, and most of the music I love is by dead people.

And yet.

I downloaded the Pokemon Go app about a month ago just to see what all the buzz was about and so I’d understand the references to it that seem to be permeating our culture. I wouldn’t say I’m now hooked (although come to think of it, this is how I started with Instagram, too … hmm…) but I do find it surprisingly fun.

Friends, family and professional colleagues seem shocked by this. At a recent happy hour gathering of my old company running team, only two of the dozen people there had ever played it: me, and our coach, who has 10 years on me.

It may be out of character, but it’s also been educational. Here, in no particular order, are some of the things I’ve learned — or at least been reminded of — from Pokemon:

  1. You’re never too old to learn something new.
  2. Competing against yourself can be more motivating than trying to beat others.
  3. It’s fun to surprise people, especially those who think they know you or have you categorized.
  4. If something is hard at first, keep trying. You’ll get better.
  5. Tiny little surprises can make your day.
  6. If you look online, you’ll almost always find someone, or a whole lot of people, who have the same questions you do. And maybe answers.
  7. Wild creatures are unpredictable.
  8. It’s better to be creative and put in the extra effort than just pay money for something.
  9. I finally understand why some people are tempted to play with their phones while driving (but still you should never, never do it).
  10. Some people can get really obsessive (not me, of course, but some other people).

I think I see a theme here: Learning and meeting a new challenge are mentally invigorating at any age. If that’s something I can do for free in spare moments, bring it.

And if you know where any Pikachus are hiding around Columbia, would you please let me know?

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