7 Things Pokemon Go Has Changed for Me

I don't think I need to explain how big Pokemon Go is to anyone, but for anyone living under a rock, it's a game that combines the nostalgia and excitement of the biggest craze of my childhood with augmented reality, setting game play in the physical world. In about a week, it's caused some major changes in me-- for better or worse.

1 - I want to go outside. As someone who suffers from depression and an anxiety disorder, it can be really hard to want to go outside. Despite the mountains of evidence that going out improves the body's ability to cope with stress, it can be hard to actually do it when your depression makes you feel like you can't do anything and your anxiety tells you you shouldn't do anything. Pokemon Go is not only helping me overcome those feelings when they arise, but actually causing me to think about going outside more often, even before I feel the shadow of depression descend upon me.

2 - I'm probably tearing through data. There's no way I'm NOT, right?

3 - I'm noticing my environment more. This is a little counter intuitive. You may be asking how a game that literally begs me to interface with my screen while out in the world has made me more observant. But really this game is encouraging me to visit new places, take in landmarks, street art, and history.

4 - I am walking way more than ever. In a typical week, between work and wanting to make content, I don't move much. Pokemon Go actually encourages walking around through game rewards and distance-based events.

5 - I'm bonding with strangers. The other night I was battling to take down a Valor gym at Astor Place and I came across a team mate who was taking it down with me. We swapped names and tips and just bonded over the game. And here's the thing-- we didn't exchange twitter handles or phone numbers or anything. No intention to "build a friendship" or anything intense like that. We just ARE teammates (#TeamMystic) and we had a nice moment and that's it. It's so rare for me to have interactions like that where no one expects anything of anybody, or there's no pressure to make a follow-up something. It was really nice to have a moment like that when I'm constantly trying to engage with the difficult fight to make this country a better place in the face of abusive authority structures and a Trump candidacy.

6 - I'm making the most of my external charger. To be honest I thought I was a little bananas when I bought my 7x charge external battery for my phone, but now I feel very vindicated in my purchasing decision.

7 - I'm wearing my team colors more and even planning Pokemon Trainer Outfits. I'm legitimately putting together outfits just for hunting Pokemon so people can know what team I'm on (and also to make Pokemon more fun for me).  It's a lot of fun to think about for me since planning outfits is like, half the fun of going out.

What has Pokemon Go changed for you?


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