Pikachu just changed my life

I just hatched a Pikachu from a 2km egg. The moment has changed my life.

Let me explain.

My boys and I have been playing Pokemon Go for a few weeks now. We have traveled dozens of kilometres together, caught hundreds of pokemon, battled a few gyms, hatched countless eggs. I even spend my lunch breaks now visiting pokestops to collect pokeballs because the little tykes are so darned wasteful with them.

But we had never caught the pokemon my boys wanted most.

Pikachu doesn’t seem to exist in the wild—at least, not in our neighbourhood. We’ve certainly never seen one. The ever-reliable internet, however, informed us there was a chance the cute little critter could be found inside a 2km egg (ignore the strange biological inaccuracy there, kiddies). We certainly hoped it was true, but all we seemed to be able to hatch were countless Caterpies, pointless Pidgeys, and waste-my-time Weedles.

Until today, that is.

I remember the moment: standing in the lift well at my work, spinning a pokestop on the way out the door, pleasantly surprised to be interrupted by the hatching message (Oh?!). I recall looking at the screen and thinking this could be the moment. I hoped—no, I actively wished—that this time a Pikachu would appear. I pictured it emerging from the shell, tried to will it into existence. For the briefest moment, I genuinely believed it could happen.

The egg cracked, a blinding light bloomed and cleared, and there stood a smiling, bubbly little Pikachu, right in front of my eyes.

My heart exploded. Luck had finally found me. It made me so happy—I can’t stress that enough, it really did—and I knew it would make my boys so happy, too.

We got a Pikachu!

But this story isn’t really about pokemon. It is about so much more than that. For me, the Pikachu moment was about my dream of becoming a writer.

Aspiring novelists like myself know the frustration and despondence of trying to find someone to publish our work. We write passionately and diligently, but mostly it feels as though success is out of our hands. The ultimate decision belongs to an editor in front of a slush pile, or a judge in a competition, or a literary agent who has known us for less than three minutes. We have to get lucky—unfathomably lucky, it seems—if we want to achieve our dreams.

But now Pikachu has taught me that this way of thinking is all Tauros poop.

You see, every time my boys and I hatched an egg in our quest, it felt as though it was all down to luck. There is bound to be an algorithm that determines which pokemon you get, and Pikachu is almost certainly rarer than a run-of-the-mill Rattata or disappointing Doduo.

It felt like we would never get one, if I am honest. It felt beyond my life. But I did finally hatch one, and it made me realise something.

Hatching a Pikachu wasn’t down to luck at all. We had cracked a lot of eggs. We finally came across a Pikachu because we had literally done the hard yards, we had walked and walked and walked, and given ourselves as many opportunities as possible to hatch an egg that contained one of those fingerless electrical rodents (yeah, take a closer look).

It was our effort—not luck—that gave us what we wanted.

It is the same for my dream of being a novelist. Every time I create, every time I hone, every time I put my work out there for someone else’s consideration, I hatch another egg. Yes, luck plays a part with each individual submission (right person, right time and all that) but the bigger factor, and the one within my control, is persistence.

I’ve learned my success isn’t in someone else’s hands at all. I choose to do the work, day after day. I chase the opportunities. The number of eggs I hatch is on me, and no-one else. And who knows when the shell will crack (Oh!?) and the blinding light will clear to reveal the smiling face of a literary agent or publisher saying “I love it!”

Luck – pah! I just got me a Pikachu.