Spending money and wasting it are two different things.

It’s not unusual for our tastes and passions change as we grow up. Those changes tend to happen gradually, though, and sometimes it’s not until we look back that we fully grasp just how much time, energy, and money we spent on certain hobbies in our youth, and come to the realization that even we ourselves can’t understand how we could have been so enthralled.

That was the situation Japanese Twitter user @senseiwakame found himself in. During his high school years, it struck him just how much of his allowance, birthday money, and otoshidama he’d spent on collectible trading card games while he was in junior high. With the appeal of games like Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokémon having faded, he muttered:

“I can’t understand what I thought the point was in wasting 10s of thousands of yen [hundreds of dollars] on card games when I was in junior high school.”

@senseiwakame’s dad happened to be in earshot while his son was lamenting his former spending habits, and after a few moments of silence, Dad spoke up with some fatherly wisdom. It wasn’t a gruff “Glad to see you’ve finally learned the value of money!” though, nor was it a forgiving, “Well, we all make mistakes when we’re kids, so don’t beat yourself up over it.” Instead, it was something much more thoughtful and profound:

“Yeah, you spent a lot of money, but the experience of happily playing with your friends is valuable. There are a lot of ‘worthless’ things that enrich your life, so make sure to find a lot of things you enjoy.”

In other words, spending money isn’t the same as wasting it. As long as playing card games with his friends had brought @senseiwakamejoy at the time, and Dad clearly remembers that it did, it was money well spent. Transferring the financial value of cash into the emotional value of happy memories and building friendships is generally a good deal if you’re in a position where you can afford to do so.

Other Twitter commenters quickly chimed in to express their admiration and agreement with @senseiwakame’s dad’s sentiment, and to chime in with similar experiences of their own.

“Your dad is too cool.”
“I was a hardcore video game and anime fan, and even now that helps me make new friends by connecting with people who I have common interests with.”
“When you grow up, you might think the things you spent money on as a kid were pointless, but the fun memories you could make are treasures.”
“Now that I’m a parent myself, I totally get what your dad was saying. It’s important to have a passion you can really throw yourself into.”
“I played card games as a kid, and I’d meet new people playing together in the park and exchanging cards we had duplicates of.”
“There’s a temple near my house with a sign that says ‘There are no worthless things, only people who waste them.’”

A few others brought up how their childhood hobbies sparked an interest in the broader fields behind them, such as one commenter who recalled how all his trips to the local arcade to play rhythm games evolved into an interest in music in general.

▼ It may not have been a direct path, but you can draw a line from the elementary school kid who bought the English-translated manga on the right to the teenager who started studying Japanese, and from there to the dude pictured on the monitor who lives and works in Japan.

“Pointless things are important,” @senseiwakame concludes, even if sometimes we don’t see the real point until a long time later.

Source: Twitter/@senseiwakame via Hachima Kiko
Photos ©SoraNews24
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s always happy to talk about Silent Mobius.