Happy Embrace Your Inner Geek Day! ‘Is that a real thing?’ you are probably asking yourself. The answer is yes, it has been one of those fun little ‘holidays’ for the past ten years now. See, look at that- the more you read, the more you’ll know. Now you can drop some knowledge on the people you run into this beautiful day (well, I hope it’s beautiful where you are, my friends). Personally, I stopped shoving my inner geek back into her shiny display box years ago- she is now fully embraced everyday, but I don’t see anything wrong with celebrating her existence right this moment. In fact, given recent nerdism events, it seems like the perfect time to start waving that freak flag high in the air.
It appears to me that in the past few years, being a geek has become a bit more mainstream. All of a sudden people want to hear about the vintage comic books I read, though they do tend to lose interest when I explain the differences between the ‘true’ origins and the Marvel movie origins. Everyone knows my hobbit ‘second breakfast’ reference, and they no longer blink at me in confusion when I mention the Misty Mountains. I am not the only one who can tell you without a second thought what Alohamora means, or inform you about what you would get if you were to add powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood (it created a sleeping potion known as the Draught of Living Death, courtesy of the illustrious Professor Snape). And I know that I am not the only one who’s heart raises in hope when I hear an owl hooting. Perhaps they are finally here to deliver my acceptance letter to Hogwarts- granted, it would be about fifteen years too late, but we all know how the post system can be. And besides, by now they probably have some form of adult education program, right? I am not ready to let that dream die just yet.
I have learned that it doesn’t have to be something unpopular or traditionally ‘nerdy’ to morph a well adjusted person into a geek. I know plenty of people who can geek out over sports, food, cars, etc. Geeking out about something has more to do with the excitement and the passion that you put into a subject, as opposed to what the subject is itself. Does it really matter if the thing that you love is popular or not? No- who cares, as long as it brings you joy. So why do we constantly feel the need to bash the things that people love?
I’m going to take a few minutes to discuss the new nerdism that is sweeping the nation and leaving people a bit confused in the process. Pokémon Go. Now, I will admit, I play- so my opinions will be a bit skewed, but hear me out- especially those of you who haven’t figured out what the big hype is. Full disclosure- I am a grown adult. I am 27 years old, I have a good job with full benefits and a retirement plan. I also spend the vast majority of my free time chasing that elusive dream of becoming a published author. If you come across me in my daily life, there is a ninety-five percent chance that you will find me working in one form or another. I am forever chasing a set goal, always running down the path of self-improvement. I love my to-do lists, I have an odd fascination with categorizing my productive time and list out my accomplishments vs unmet goals. To put it bluntly, I spend plently of my time as a perfectly boring adult. And I think that is the problem with most of us.
We get so bogged down in depressing news stories about the state of the world, our daily trials and tribulations, the mind-numbing chores and activities- and we forget how much fun there is to have in life. We age ourselves before the world can do it for us. I know how to maintain the balance between being a productive adult and letting my hair down to have fun; I can focus on my job when it’s time to work, I still meet all of my writing goals and deadlines, and my household chores are done in a timely manner. And yes, I can still find a few minutes during my daily dog-walking time to chase down a Charmander. As long as my version of fun doesn’t hurt anyone or cause some form of property damage- who cares what form it takes? At least I know not to take myself too seriously all the time. Life is supposed to have adventure, you might as well embrace it.
You see, Pokémon is something that I grew up with, it’s something that brings back good family memories of cramming into our old Ford F-250 with my parents and three siblings as we drove out into the mountains to hike or play in the snow. On the trips my sister, brothers and I all had our Gameboys out- Pokémon and Mario made up the majority of my game time (and don’t worry- I grew up in the last generation to enjoy the great outdoors, so I wasn’t lacking in sunshine fun either). So here I am, a grown adult with the opportunity to bring to life a childhood dream- of course I’m going to love the idea. It is reminiscent of a simpler time in my life, back when there was still magic and my biggest problem was my sister stealing my favorite Barbie doll. I miss when those were my problems, and I still believed that I could do anything I set my mind to- even end world hunger.
The only thing that has suffered since I started playing a few days ago: my TV/internet time. It’s easy to wind down at the end of the day with a good show or perusing the internet and social media. Now that time is filled with long walks, good friends, and excited four-legged companions. In the past day and a half I have walked roughly 30,000 steps, most of those were with my German Shepard who was unbelievably thrilled with the adventures of our trots through town. I talked to multiple strangers, hanging out with a few for about 20 minutes or so- this in itself is huge for someone with the social anxiety that normally sends me running in the opposite direction when my cheeks burning in shame. But think about it- there is a built in conversation starter and something to do when you aren’t sure what to say next- it’s a great way to branch out and meet other people without the usual pressures of typical daily interactions. I discovered four new statues I have never noticed before at a park I have been to about a dozen times. I went to a ‘concert in the park event’ during the lunch hour with my dog- another thing I typically avoid (large crowds are not on my list of favorites). I discovered a park a few blocks from my house that has a beautiful scenic walking trail and took my dog on an little adventure. We met up with a friend and let our two dogs try to socialize for the first time while we walked around town (both of our little fur babies are leery of strange pups). All of this activity because of one silly game I can download on my phone. Tell me, does that really sound like such a bad thing? (Below are a few of my discoveries, all thanks to Pokémon Go)
There is enough negativity in the world, so when people find something that they enjoy- why don’t we just celebrate that rare gift? We could all use some common ground, and if it happens to be standing in the park throwing virtual balls at a fake Squirtle- so be it. We spend too much time divided, we don’t need to continue drawing more lines in the sand.
So today I ask you to embrace the geek- whatever your hobbies may be, indulge yourself. Go back and re-read Harry Potter again, figure out how to make a litter box that looks like a Hobbit-hole, play Iron Man vs. the Hulk with your niece, put together a model airplane, wax the car, catch the Pikachu you’ve been tracking for the past three days, bake a dozen cupcakes and use candy to decorate them as monsters. Whatever it is that you love, go out there and do it. Be safe and enjoy. We only have one life to live, and the only way to feel young is to remember that you don’t have to be old just because the world tells you to. Take time to enjoy this crazy world that we live in because some days there is precious little to celebrate. So when we find a happiness, let’s embrace it, nurture it, and stop trying to stamp it out of one another. This world could use a little bit more kindness, don’t you think?