I still play Pokémon. Go ahead, have your laughs, make fun of me because I’m 25, soon to be 26, and still can rattle off all 151 of the original Pokémon. Although, I’m not sure what you’re laughing at – that shit is skill.
There was a period in my life when I stopped playing the game and focused on boys, Bonne bell lip gloss, JC Chazez and his gorgeous hair. I was your average teenager, who spent her nights on the phone with her girlfriends and pretending to be engaged to Johnny Depp after Pirates of the Caribbean came out. As all kids do, I grew up and was in such a race toward adulthood that I cast aside anything that reminded me of being youthful.
Pokémon for me, is what the original Power Rangers are to my fiancé. They take us back to a time in our lives when we were completely innocent. A time when we used to play outside, ride our bikes, and open up the computer to draw circles on Paint and color them in (am I dating myself!?). A time when dial up was still a thing, before Snapchat, and even spending hours away on Myspace, there was room to be imaginative and to feel comfortable enough being silly, and being youthful. Kids today frighten me because of their lack of a childhood. My nephews go out to dinner and hang on their phones the entire night. From age 2 and up, kids are fidgeting away at their parents’ phones, or their own phones, or tablets, just being babysat by something while everyone else caters to their same needs.
Don’t get me wrong – I played my Pokémon yellow version like it was my deepest addiction when I was eight years old. But, it was also the first thing I ever saved up enough money for so I could buy it. It wasn’t handed to me – it was earned, making me value it as much as I did, and as much as I still do, 18 years later after I originally bought it. The game was an entertainer because it tapped into my wildest imagination. I remember me and my best friend running around outside, hiding under trees, and pretending to be trainers, looking at everything around us from a rabbit, to a tree, to the rock on the patio as something grander than it was.
Life doesn’t have that sweetness to it as I’ve gotten older. I write, as my creative outlet – but I also write for a paycheck. It’s half for fun, but also for exposure, for recognition, to ultimately better myself. My life is working all day, grinning when I’d rather not, tending to a house, and pets, with the same responsibilities I was in such a rush to obtain. Every now and then, it’s nice to slip back into that innocent, and imaginative mind set: a time when all a girl wanted to be was a Pokémon trainer exploring the world and being a total boss at it.