What I’ve Learned From 20 Years of Pokémon

Today marks the 20th year anniversary since the beginning of Pokémon in 1996. It’s been a long ride that we’ve had together.  I have very fond memories of watching Pokémon when it was first aired on TV. As a child I used to wake up early before class to catch a new episode of Poke’mon every morning. I fell in love with the characters, cried through the hardships, and made some lifelong friends along the way. Pokémon is more than just a children’s show with cute characters, as it also teaches you many skills that you can carry over into your everyday life. It’s revolutionary and continues to be. Throughout all the years of  battles with friends during recess, to now where I can replay the first copy of Yellow on my 3DS again, Pokémon has taught me some very valuable life lessons along the way.

Never Give Up!

“It’s more important to master the cards you’re holding than to complain about the ones your opponents were dealt.” – Grimsley

One of the biggest things that I have learned through all of my years of Pokémon, has got to be persistence. Some of the most intense battles of my life took place in the Pokémon games. There were quite a few times where I failed, and failed again, but I never gave up. With every gym master you challenge, every Pokémon you catch, and every battle you fight, you couldn’t have gotten through it without the willpower and persistence to win. I remember a few times where I really struggled in the Elite 4. After every fail I would switch up my team, use different items, and never gave up. This game inspires you to become a strategic thinker. If fire is weak to water, than maybe you can take it out with grass? These type of situations create the perfect foundation for strong thinking skills and I’m extremely thankful for that.

Being an Overachiever is Never a Bad Thing

“I see now that the circumstances of one’s birth are irrelevant. It is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are.” -Mewtwo

Ash and Red both were on this constant mission to become the best. Along the way they fought through battles, while achieving many gym badges to prove their mastery. They didn’t just stop after one victory. They pushed on to keep bettering themselves and their Pokémon with infinite training and hard work! I wanted to be like this in real life. As a child I was at the top of my class, with many praise from my teachers and peers. I clearly remember being shot down in my 3rd grade class when a mean classmate blurted out, “She’s always so good at everything. I hate her!” Yes, this little kid screamed this about me in front of the whole class. I could have let this push my spirits down, but I didn’t.

See, in life and anything that you do, it’s never a bad thing to be the shining star on top. Pokemon had taught me that even though Ash was good, he always pushed himself to become better and remained humble about it. Be proud of your accomplishments, boast about how amazing the work is that you do, all while minding your ego. I’d always had this mindset that if I was going to do something, it shouldn’t be half given. My full potential needed to go into this one thing or else I wouldn’t attempt it at all. If Ash hadn’t worked through all of the obstacles that he’d been through, he wouldn’t have become the master that he is today. If you work hard, the results will turn out for the best and there’s no satisfaction in taking the easy way out.

Never Underestimate the Underdog

“Strong Pokemon. Weak Pokemon. That is only the selfish perception of people.  Truly skilled trainers should try to win with their favorites.” -Karen

What I’ve learned about getting knocked down, it is that the best solution to this is to get back up and prove yourself time after time. We all know the story. Ash meets a new trainer. This new trainer may look at him and wonder, “OH you’re just a kid. What can you really do? Your Pokémon are weak.” He then defeats them and of course the saga continues. Poke’mon taught me about haters, all around. There are some weaker Pokemon that we may have trained, and with a bit of discipline and determination, we could make them evolve into something pretty awesome. The perfect example would be Magikarp. It’s weak and nobody wants to work with it, but if you stick with him he will evolve into a Gyarados. The big papa monster of the sea! Through our daily struggles we can be looked at as the Underdog, but all it takes is a bit of improvement and fierceness, and we shall come out as the Top Dog.

We Are All the Same On the Inside

“We do have a lot in common. The same earth, same air, the same sky. Maybe if we started looking at what’s the same, instead of always looking at what’s different, well, who knows?” – Meowth

Who knew that Meowth was such a wise little philosopher? There’s good and bad in just about everyone. Jesse and James taught us all this early on. While being thieves and cheaters, they were still likeable people. And of course, the power of justice always ended up catching up to them. In the games, in show, and in real life we’ve encountered quite a few questionable characters. It’s good that we as humans have the ability to decipher these things early on, but what is with the fear of the unknown? One of my favorite stories of Pokémon is within X & Y where we meet a character named AZ. When I first encountered him, he instantly scared me with his tall height, shady behavior and babbling on about eternal Pokemon life. This guy appeared to be a drifter, and while we never knew his full story, for some reason you didn’t want to get too close to him. I won’t spoil his story, but let’s just say that outer appearances aren’t everything.

Although Some Come and Go, Friendships are Still Important

“You see, sometimes friends have to go away, but a part of them stays behind with you.”

Poke’mon was always there for me through the hardships and nothing really hits harder than having a  friend up and leave you. I have had some of the closest friends of mine leave and disappear into nothing but good memories and a shell of the friend that I used to have. While it hurts having to see a friend go, to have been able to have someone that impact in your life for even that short amount of time, was still a gift. We have watched many beloved trainers and Pokemon leave the story, and it is heartbreaking. Though painful, in our hearts we can still feel that person. While you can’t put your arms around a memory, we can still relive the good times, omitting the bad times. Everyone and everything leaves these little imprints on our lives. Just remember this lyric: “I close my eyes, and I can see, the day we met, just one moment and I knew, you’re my best friend.”

You’re Never Too Old for Poke’mon

“A Caterpie may change into a Butterfree, but the heart that beats inside remains the same.” – Brock

There was a period in time where I stopped dealing with Poke’mon. I’d felt that maybe I’d outgrown it. That I shouldn’t be so absorbed in “kiddie” stuff. My Mom tried buying me little Pikachus and Pokemon stuff, that I’d kindly pushed to the side to focus on other things. Of course, something inside of me had always yearned to go back to my roots. Then one day, back in 2012 I decided to borrow a friend’s DS and a copy of Diamond which he recommended would lift up my spirits. As I took a break from Call of Duty, I ended up getting sucked into the world of Pokemon all over again! I enjoying the heck out of everything new including the stories, new Poke’mon, and games, that I even watched a few of the older movies and anime episodes that I’d missed out on. The previous thoughts about me “outgrowing” Pokemon had been complete blasphemy. I’d been sucked back in as if I’d never even left. Even if you’ve felt lost and have been stuck behind a few generations, it’s not too late to climb back aboard. That is the power of Pokemon!

People Who Love Pokemon are Very Special People

“Ohhh, you’re my best friend in a world we must defend!”

I’ve met friends all over the world with a love for Pokemon. I’d noticed that each friends that I share a love of Pokemon with has never left me. They’re all still here! It’s as if a special bond has been created between us that we’ll never be able to get out of. I’ve been a faithful fan of Pokemon since I was 8 years old and I couldn’t imagine how different my life would have been without it. My love for Poke’mon has connected me with many others including lovers, friends and even random acquaintances. I have nieces and nephews that are just starting out as Pokemon trainers and it just warms my heart. All of the years of fun that I’d had with just this one franchise can be shared with someone younger than me. I know that our younger generation can’t wait to start their journeys to become the Pokemon masters that they so desire to become. I expect to be around 80, with about 3,024 Pokemon by my side, still gaming and watching the anime even when I am old.

20 Years of Poke’mon and Still Going Strong

With the announcements of Poke’mon Sun and Moon, GO and even Pokken Tournament there’s no slowing down one bit. Go will show us a new world as we become the trainers outside in real life, and seek to become the very best in our own world. Pokken Tournament will give us one of the best 3D fighting Pokemon games we’ll ever set out hands on. Stadium was awesome, but look at this as Pokémon fighting games evolving into even more. Sun and Moon will be big ones, because not only are we getting a new Poke’mon game, but now for the first time ever we can go back to Gen 1 on our 3DS’s and train up our little Pokemon and transfer them over. So we better get started! Train on my friends!

Thank you so much Nintendo for Pokémon!!

Are you a Pokémon lover as well? Shout out in the comments section what valuable life lessons you have learned through Poke’mon.

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