Although I’m no stranger to the sensation, in fact, I’m burning a “fall festival” candle as I write, I’ve always wondered what it is about fall that gets people so excited. Autumn is not like spring in the sense that spring represents life, freshness, and new opportunities. But for some reason, falling leaves and apple picking and pumpkin spice make us feel some type of way.
I did some research, finding that other people are also wondering about this seasonal phenomenon. Kathryn Lively, a professor of sociology at Dartmouth College, explains that we’re conformed, from early ages, to associate fall with exciting things such as getting shiny, new school supplies and going pumpkin picking and eating apple cider donuts with our families. It isn’t the season, fall itself, that makes us so happy— it’s the things we associate with fall.
Then I started thinking, fall doesn’t necessarily represent all positive things. Trees die and go bare, summer’s end means going back to school and work for some, and the cold of winter is inevitably coming. Even still, we find happy things to associate with fall and get us excited for the season: apple pie, carving pumpkins, pretty colored leaves, flannel shirts, and everything else. If you really think about it, we do this with every season. Spring means planting flowers, summer means going to the beach, and winter, although it’s cold, means sleigh riding and spending holidays with family.
Our love of fall can teach us two lessons. The first, is to seek out the best of any situation. Our tendency to associate positive things—all the things we love about fall—with a season that brings cold weather and going back to work displays our ability to find the positive in any experience. This lesson, seek out the positive, may seem like a cliche. But it’s an important lesson to always keep in mind.
The second, is to put on a brave face and keep a positive outlook, no matter what is to come. Fall means winter is coming, yet we all love fall and embrace it with a pumpkin spice latte in hand. This outlook we have on the season shows us that we can take on anything with a brave face, as long as we find the positives around us to carry us forward.