From a Teen’s Perspective: Let them eat (pumpkin) cake

by Dylan Lanier on September 5, 2023

I hope I’m not alone in saying that it doesn’t feel like fall just yet. The leaves are still a summer-y shade of green and temperatures keep hitting a sweltering high. In fact, autumn officially starts on September 23rd this year.

Nonetheless, Starbucks released its fall menu on August 24th. Seem a bit early? While they may have jumped the seasonal gun by nearly a month, customers flocked to local stores in order to get a taste of those sickeningly sweet yet irresistable fall flavors.

From the famous Pumpkin Spice Latte to the brand new Baked Apple Croissant, the coffee chain’s autumnal assault was swift and effective. Many of my friends were first in line to try them, and it wasn’t just the taste that stuck with them.

It seemed like taking one sip of their cozy, creamy coffee was enough to be taken over by the fall spirit. They started talking about homecoming, Halloween, Thanksgiving — all the events that make autumn such a wonderful season. I was sweating in a t-shirt and shorts while they celebrated the sweater weather that was soon to come.

I’ve noticed this pattern a lot. Fall menus in the summer. Christmas displays the day after Halloween. Companies keep drawing out these festive occasions to sell more products.
At first I was annoyed that my friends would fall prey to such an obvious marketing scheme. But then I realized that I might be the clueless one. The fall menu had become something for people to look forward to, a milestone to enter into the next season. Here I was judging people, and for what? Enjoying something too early?

Too often we tell ourselves to compartmentalize our delights. We make excuses for why we can’t live in the moment and take time to appreciate the things we love.

I think we as a society are losing a bit of our lust for life. Everyday we work our butts off and cram our schedules because that’s what we’re told to do.

We’re supposed to hold off on pursuing our hobbies, hanging out with loved ones, and celebrating all the other things that bring us joy. We’re conditioned to believe we don’t have the time for that carefree walk through the nighborhood or that extra long bubble bath. If we just work hard enough, we’ll eventually be free to do what we want.
But the truth is we could all work ourselves into oblivion. There’s never going to be a perfect stopping point.

Life is all about balance. Work hard, play hard, and never let yourself get so caught up in the details that you lose sight of the big picture. We’re all here to learn and love and revel in the crazy yet beautiful experience that is humanity.

We should always have something — however big or small — that we can really get excited about. After all, life’s a whole lot more fun when you can’t wait to reach the next chapter.
So buy that pumpkin bread, put up those holiday lights — heck, why don’t you paint some Easter eggs while you’re at it. We are so lucky we get to create these exciting moments in our life all year round. Let’s make them count!

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Dylan Lanier is a senior a Menlo-Atherton High School

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