In the interests of protecting the innocent (my vanity in this case) I’m not going to reveal my age, however after providing a few clues it shouldn’t be too hard to guess. I still use words like rad, bummer and gnarly as part of my daily lexicon. Any guesses yet? No? Well, I’ll provide some more hints. I’m older than the cell phone technology used to play Pokémon Go. I’m older than video games. Heck, I even remember when television turned off each night. That’s a fact! Every night at midnight the TV would play the National Anthem and then turn to static, not turning on again until 6am or so. Imagine that young trainers, no TV for a few hours. Oh the humanity!
So what led me, an old guy, to playing Pokémon Go? Last March, I read an article on the BBC about Pokémon’s history and cultural impact, as well as the upcoming 5 year anniversary of Pokémon Go. I remember turning to my wife and asking, “isn’t that the game where people run around all over the place trying to catch Pokémon?” I mean, I knew what Pokémon were. I wasn’t quite that clueless. I finished the article without much more thought on the subject. However, a few days later I thought what the heck, maybe it would be kind of fun to play. And that’s how I turned from being completely ignorant on the subject to an obsessed trainer. But you ask, where does all this talk of the fountain of youth come in to the picture? I’m getting to that. I won’t bore you with all the data about the health benefits of walking and all that. I’ll leave that to the fancy-pants scientists and researchers with the degrees ending in PH&D. But following is a list of the reasons, that for me, playing Pokémon Go has made me healthier and happier… and feeling young again.
- Hatching my way to a healthier heart- All those eggs! I love the fact that I can pick an egg matching the distance I want to walk for the day and then head on out to see what’s inside. I know of course the game shows what may be inside, but I don’t look… I like the surprise that it provides each time. So, all the walking I’m doing just to hatch those eggs keeps the weight off and just has to be good for the old ticker! On a side note, my wife, who joined the Pokémon family 2 weeks after me has since lost 72lbs! She attributes her success to Weight Watchers and Pokémon Go.
- Gimme a break!- We’ve all been living through some very trying times the past couple of years making reality sure tough to take, and while I’m not an advocate of a Ready Player One existence, I do need to disconnect at times. Pokémon Go provides that for me. The grass is always green, the flowers are always in bloom, and Professor Willow is always there to provide encouragement. I even enjoy the silly posturing and taunting of the Grunts. They make me smile every time. And who can’t get a charge out of Cliff with his über-masculinity and awesome goatee. A complete antithesis to my scraggly gray beard and dad bod. These moments throughout the day playing Pokémon Go are a great stress-reliever, providing the mental break needed to keep me balanced and happy.
- My bigger brain- After nearly a year of playing I can talk the talk (somewhat). Mention a Pokémon and I can give you its evolution (most times, I’m still learning), or maybe a good counter, or some other fun stat. Learning something new has got to be good for the brain, right? Everyday I’m presented with some new challenge, a new goal that I need to meet. My new obsession has me reading blogs, watching videos, and learning new technologies (like this one as I try to write my own first blog). Watching the horrible effects that Alzheimer had on my mother has encouraged me to challenge myself mentally. Playing Pokémon Go has definitely kept the old noggin active and feeling younger!
I’ve met other trainers in nearby parks, have joined with others to battle in raids and have enjoyed sending daily gifts to all my in-game friends, both near and far. I’ve truly enjoyed the experience, the camaraderie with other trainers, and all that exercise! My only wish is that I looked as young as my avatar! I mean, is that too much to ask?