deep breath ahh, fall. How I love thee. How we all love thee, actually. While it sets off my allergies and always makes me sick, I can’t resist the colors and the crispness and the coziness. I even go so far as to watch some of those awful Hallmark movies on TV. You know the ones—where Betty from the city has to leave to run her grandma’s remote squash farm and emotionally cheat on her sophisticated douche of a city boyfriend with a humble hick and live happily ever after. So bad, but sorta good.
What I don’t love about fall, though, are the basic-est of basic girls who pop out of the woodwork to “live their best life” or whatever from September through November (sorry, “Christmas” brand basics, I didn’t mean to forget about you—carry on with September and October). And come on, of course it’s okay to get crazy this time of year and as basic as you like, so don’t be offended by my griping. But you already knew it was okay. While I love fall too (it’s moody just like me), at some point I practically turn into Charlie Brown and want to curse the way that the season becomes one big ploy for corporate advertising and likes for Instagram.
What about some real ways to enjoy the season that aren’t exclusively about how we look or how many PSLs Starbucks can get us to consume? Or maybe, you don’t really enjoy fall at all and truly have no desire to take part in all this stuff. Maybe you don’t have money sitting around waiting to be dropped on Bath & Body Works candles or a month’s worth of lattes. That’s so okay. Luckily for you, your local 22-year-old, curmudgeonly grandmother has come up with some non-basic ways to celebrate all that is fall, that shouldn’t make you want to gouge your eyes out.
CREATE A MOOD WITH YOUR MUSIC
Okay maybe this one is a little basic. But hey, instead of agonizing over Pinterest-worthy flatlay photos or feeling like you need to do a complete room makeover to get in touch with the season, you can use music to be in the seasonal mood. For me, that means listening to folk-inspired music… like, a lot. A Spotify playlist is the perfect way to get into a festive mood without any of the extra (consumerist) mumbo-jumbo. Think The Lumineers’ brand new album and Sufjan Stevens (find my fall playlist on Spotify here), though you can use whatever tracks get you feeling extra cozy. Add a pumpkin-spiced candle if you must, ‘cause ok fine, that scent will be on sale, and you’ve got a great start to the season.
NIX THE STARBUCKS
I’ve got more to this than just a bias against basic white girls—changing up your routine at this time of the year is a great way to stay in the moment and really enjoy the season. Sitting down to enjoy a seasonal drink at a local coffee shop instead of rushing in and out of Starbucks (or Caribou, if you’re a die-hard Minnesotan) before your morning commute is a tactic for literally savoring the season instead of downing it through a green plastic straw and cup (which you don’t need to be using anyway—the environment!). Besides, pumpkin spice gets all the attention. What about good old nutmeg? Fellow Minnesota blogger Lizanne once recommended a maple latte year-round, and I always love a creamy chai with plenty of cinnamon on top.
Use a sit-down as an opportunity to connect with the world around you: keep your phone away and listen to the clinking of dishware, maybe the wind blowing outside. Engage with strangers or retreat into a good book.
FOCUS ON GATHERING
In the spirit of unleashing (dare I say) the “true meaning of fall”, try and create some of that coziness by getting together with people. Maybe instead of spending tons of money on candles, create your own stove-top potpourri with some orange slices, cinnamon and cloves. Get people together to do something fun—the typical apple orchard and haunted hayrides count, but you’ll get extra special bonus points if it’s something that helps others, like volunteering. Go visit animals at The Humane Society. Have meaningful conversation and give hugs. Call your mom out of the blue and tell her she’s the best. You can bet I’m going to try to get some friends together in my tiny living room to talk and talk.
MAKE A GOAL FOR THE SEASON
Whether it’s to slow down, be in the moment, or (in my case) to embrace change, make a goal to focus on for the season and keep it in mind. You might be surprised at how it shows up in your life. Because fall gives me an excuse to focus on change, I’m finding it might be a little easier to go through the motions because the natural world around me is going through it, too. Try writing a daily paragraph about how your day was or what you want to get out of the season. Emotions are practically begging to get a little extra attention at this time of year, what with the world going to sleep and resigning to winter.
We get these odd notions about things we “must” do at certain times of the year, especially from the internet and social media. Dismiss the weird seasonal pressure around it all, if you wish. The colors are going to change and the temps will drop no matter how you interact with fall.