Pessimistic but nonetheless true, life is replete with disappointments. Since TikTok gained immense traction in 2020, the concepts of core memories, main character energy, “my life is a movie,” and romanticizing one’s life became widely adopted among Gen Z.
For instance, take prom — the final hurrah of a students’ high school experience. At least for myself, I grew up watching movies like “Footloose”, “Mean Girls”, “Pretty in Pink”, and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”, all of which contain a highly idealized version of what a school dance might entail. And so, expecting their high school homecomings and prom night to mirror these movies, any teenager might anticipate a night full of intense drama, containing a novel love interest, illegal activity, rebellion, and an ambience of sparkles and strobe lights. Ultimately though, despite movie culture and social media platforms curating and ingraining a utopian version of a young adult’s life unto its viewers, this expectation is unrealistic. Yes, prom night was without a doubt a core memory for me. However, for past homecomings and for most “hyped up” events, the highlight of my night was getting In-n-Out with my friends.
Pretty, well, anticlimactic.
Another example: birthdays. Whether it be through Pinterest boards or from watching the iconic “16 Wishes,” there is a highly idealized version of birthdays that exists — a version where one might hope to be showered with endless love, surprises, and presents. But, more often than not, birthdays leave people in tears, with unfulfilled expectations, and comparing the number of Instagram story shoutouts received to those of the previous year.
So, what I am trying to say is that there can be so many faults with over-fantasizing and over-dramatizing life — especially historical, socio-cultural, and political events and topics. Because the truth is, life is mundane and the “teenage dream,” 15–second snippets and reels that users post on social media, are masterfully curated moments that are not representative of day-to-day life.
But maybe if you are anything like me, you just cannot help it. And if that is the case, then I come to the rescue — shift the way you romanticize your life. Instead of hyperfixating on the most ideal (and unrealistic) outcomes, I urge you to romanticize the season — literally, and metaphorically — that you are living through and everything that it encompasses.
And for right now, it’s fall.
Quite literally the best couple of months, fall is a time when one can embrace the seasonal depression, the delectable scents, and seasonal menu items, the low-exposure photos and aesthetics, the anticipation of winter, the art of layering clothes, and the somber music. In other words, the ambience is simply unmatched. So this is me giving you a free pass to romanticize your life to the max — take advantage.
Something that I love about the romanticization of fall is that it does not promote unattainable productivity and the “grindset.” Rather, I would personify the season of fall as an enabler.
Allow me to illustrate a typical fall morning for myself. After begrudgingly waking up to my 7:15 a.m. alarm and knowing what treacherous day is ahead of me, I curate a fall outfit, “treat” myself to a pumpkin cream cold brew (though it is not really a treat if I do it everyday…), absolutely blast my “mellow rainy days” or “fall updated” playlist whilst driving to school, park in the Sixth College parking structure (with a permit, of course!), and briskly walk to class with music blasting through my wired earbuds (because I find them much more aesthetically pleasing than AirPods) — all while appreciating the crisp air and overcast sky.
Fall does not demand much of me. It does not suck away my energy the way that 95-degree weather does. Instead, its serenity — its entirety — restores me.
This brings me to my final point: music. I truly find music the most crucial aspect to cater to and amplify my desired mood. Listening to artists such as Cigarettes After Sex, Beach House, Lana Del Rey, Phoebe Bridgers, and The 1975 — just to name a few — encapsulate fall and dramatize my super dramatic college student life.
My activity between the hours of 1–8 p.m. is kind of a gray area, but it is something along the lines of buying a subpar $4 latte from Audrey’s cafe in Geisel Library, doing homework somewhere on campus, and consuming Plant Power.
But what I am aware of is that I end my school nights by admiring the early sunsets and the light drizzles, opening Pinterest and pinning to my “FALL” board, and lighting a fall-scented candle — currently burning is “Scarlet Pumpkin.”
So the next time you are sad that açaí bowls and 8 p.m. sunsets are out of season, splurge on a festive drink, listen to Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well (10 Minute Version),” and continue to fester your melancholy mood.
That, is fall in a nutshell.
Photo Via Lauren Pak