Funny isn’t it? We’re always told to carve our own paths; stay true to ourselves; do whatever it is that makes us happy. Yet when something like Pokémon Go comes along, suddenly everyone’s changed their tune.
The most common thing I’ve heard over the past couple of weeks has been “some people need to get a life”, and always said with such venom so that you know it’s not just a passing comment; it’s actually a strong feeling they have about something, despite the fact that it doesn’t affect them at all. “Get a life” they say, totally un-accepting that playing something like Pokémon Go could ever be anything other than a total waste of time.
I’ve heard some wonderful stories about Pokémon Go – vets with PTSD who couldn’t bring themselves to leave the house previously, kids with Autism finally being able to go out and socialise with other gamers. And for me, I’ve walked over 50,000 more steps more than normal each week since downloading the app, which is pretty awesome for my health. And I’ve been having fun doing it.
But it’s as if “carving your own path” is only okay as long as you choose one of the socially accepted ways of doing it, in which case it’s not really your own path at all, is it?
I know I’ve judged people for their choices before – I’m not at all innocent in all this. People who watch reality TV shows. People who spend hundreds of dollars supporting whatever sports team they are into. I’ve looked at them all thinking that perhaps there is a better use of their time and energy. But I think I’ve also kept in the back of my mind that if it makes them happy, then it’s OK (although I still don’t understand how sports can be a 30 minute News item!).
“Get a life” and “a waste of time” are such cruel things to say. It goes beyond just not “getting it”. It’s a total, unequivocal dismissal of worth, and it’s upsetting.
I know we should “ignore the haters”, but let’s be honest: that’s not always particularly easy. I think a much better phrase to insert into common use would be “don’t be a hater”.