I wanna be the very best. The best there ever was.
Like all us 90s babies (and other people obsessed with the 90s) know, those are the opening lyrics to the theme song of Pokemon Indigo League. Otherwise known as the tv show we grew up on, and we are clearly still addicted to as the new Pokemon Go app proves.
If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter then you know that last week was very Pokemon themed for me. I went to a Pokemon Go hosted event at my college, I heard people playing the theme music when I went out to dinner and I played for so long that I thought a Psyduck was actually going to jump out of the pond. This franchise is taking over my life all over again.
As a kid, I always begged for another pack of Pokemon cards anytime we were near the checkout aisles in a store. To me, money wasn’t money; it was the thing that gave me new Pokemon games and cards. I still own a whole binder full of trading cards and Pokemon Ruby (which is way harder than I remember btw!) and I’ve started rewatching the tv series as well.
While watching the show of my childhood I made some very striking parallels to my life that I thought were super interesting.
First of all, all the characters are super sarcastic and practically only speak in puns. Just like me. And my friends. And the internet.
I mean it makes sense: what you grow up around is more likely to be what you’re going to incorporate into your life when you’re older. So since I grew up watching this show and taking in all their sarcasm and puns, I grew up to be sarcastic and in love with puns. You can’t tell me there isn’t a parallel there.
But that’s not the only connection I made. I’m about to blow your mind. Like seriously, this next one literally explains our whole generation. Are you ready?
The Pokemon franchise is why millennials are so freaking obsessed and worried and stressed about being perfect.
That was the sound of your mind being blown.
Okay, now let me explain this one. So you know how Ash’s main (and literally only) goal in the whole series is to be the very best Pokemon trainer in the history of ever? He has given himself the burden of catching the biggest Pokemon, the most Pokemon, the strongest Pokemon, the rarest Pokemon, and defeating everyone who challenges him and keeping Team Rocket at bay and always one-upping Gary.
That’s one stressful life for a 10-year-old. Not to mention he’s completely living on his own (if you don’t count Brock and Misty).
But wait. Aren’t we doing the same thing to ourselves?
We’re placing all these unnecessary burdens on our lives, and trying to live up the expectation of being the best student, employee, friend, partner or athlete in the history of ever.
We’re pressured to keep a 4.0 GPA at all times and never get less than an A. I mean God forbid we get an A-. We’re expected to be super involved and participate in sports and clubs and volunteer and have a job. We’re pressured by colleges to have the highest SAT and ACT score with the threat of not being accepted otherwise. The media tells us we have to be the strongest, the skinniest, the curviest, the fastest, the most flexible, the prettiest, the smartest and the happiest. We have to have the whitest and straightest teeth. We have to have the most likes, retweets, views, subscribers, friends, and followers.
We have to be the very best…..or we aren’t good enough.
And it’s not fun and it doesn’t make us happy. So why do we keep trying to be the best at everything even when it’s literally (I’m not using this sarcastically) not possible?
Well, because as a kid, we were told we had to be the very best and that expectation has followed us from a children’s television program to modern television, magazines, movies and all the photoshopped models and celebrities you see today.
It sounds a little far-fetched, I know. But it’s not just because of the Pokemon franchise; other toys we grew up with messed up our way of thinking too. Toys like Barbie and Bratz dolls were significant negative influencers for little girls’ body confidence, and there are plenty other toys that ingrained not the best message into our little kid brains too.
I’m not placing blame on anyone, I just want to encourage you to really think about why you have the values you do and why you feel pressured to do certain things. Next time you feel like you aren’t good enough ask yourself who is telling you that. It may just be a hidden message tucked away in the back of your brain that you picked up from a show you watched or a magazine you read or from yourself. Afterall, we are our own biggest critics.
No matter your age, 10 years or 20 years, trying to be the best is damaging to your self-esteem and mindset.
It’s also not fair to play the compare game because most of the time we compare ourselves to people with more experience than us or to people’s highlight reels. Just like Ash tended to compare himself to trainers who have years of experience, we also tend to compare ourselves to people who have been working longer or harder at something than us.
So let it go. And instead of trying to be the very best, all you have to do is be your very best. The only person you need to compare yourself with is the person you were yesterday. Not your best friend. Not your sister. Not the girl you always see at the gym. Not your favorite celebrity. Not who you were a year ago. Just who you were yesterday. Your mental health with thank you.
I’m done trying to be the very best. Instead, I’m going to focus on being my very best.
So take the pledge with me, and tweet out the above quote. Let’s show the world we don’t have to be perfect, we just have to be ourselves to be happy.
What are your thoughts on the parallels I drew from the show to modern day life? Did you play the games, watch the show or collect the cards as a kid?