It was in the afternoon right after class. I had to wait a while to see the teacher about a story I wrote, along with a few other people. As I was bored, I took out my 3ds and started playing. A classmate passed by. "What? You still play Pokemon? Who still does that?" He said, probably in an attempt to make me feel embarrassed. I shrugged and said: "Obviously I do."
Pokemon was important to me in my childhood. 7-year old me was obsessed with it. I knew every single one of those pocket monsters and could name them in the right order. I collected cards, plushies and all kinds of other merchandise. The first ever film I saw in theatres was Pokemon: The First Movie. I played all the games and was heartbroken when my Pokemon Red cartridge was stolen. The thief later returned it, but not until he/she did a new game and saved it. Everyone who played those games knows how painful that is.
Then suddenly, Pokemon was no longer hot. Yu-gi-oh cards and other shit became the bomb. I was the only one left on the playground, holding on to my gameboy tightly, unwilling to say goodbye to the monsters I trained for hours just because the next big thing had arrived. No matter how many people told me Pokemon was lame, I continued playing it. All of the games, up until now. Why? Because it were the games that made me happy in my childhood. I have fond memories of meeting up with neighbourhood kids and trading cards and battling via cables (there was no such thing as wireless back then).
When we grow older, we're expected to be completely mature by the age of 21. We are no longer allowed to like the things that made us happy as a child because it is for children, right? Does it really matter that a professional businessman collects My Little Ponies as a hobby? Does it hurt anyone if a teacher is a fan of Hello Kitty in her spare time? Does playing a game you used to play when you were young make you immature? I don't think so.
We live in a fast-paced world where children are forced to grow up far too quickly. I was a child who was forced to be mature at the age of 12 for many different reasons. I'm just happy that the things that gave me joy back then are still around and available to me. I'm no longer meeting up with neighbourhood kids for trading, but instead technology has made it possible for me to trade with people all over the world.
It was Pokemon for me, but for you, my dear reader, it might be something completely different. Don't let anyone tell you off for still embracing the child inside of you. If it doesn't hurt anyone or get in your way, then why bother? As long as it makes you happy.