There’s a story my old freshman year college roommate likes to bring up every time fall arrives. It goes like this: Back in the day, our RA sent an email announcing that she was planning an apple picking trip for our floor. Our school was upstate, it was fall, it was freshman year; it made sense. A couple of weeks later, she sent a follow-up email canceling the trip because only one person signed up. Laughing, my roommate asked me: “Who’s the loser who signed up for apple picking?” It was me. I was that loser.
I love fall and everything it represents. I like gradually coming down from the high of summer and creeping back into the “new beginning” monotony of work and school and school and work (I’m a Capricorn, we like structure, whatever). I like having all of my favorite shows back on television and new excuses not to be social and instead stay inside. I like the cooling weather and overwhelming number of jean jackets. And yes, the apple picking (and the hayrides, corn mazes, cider doughnuts, pumpkins). It’s a time of year I believe can only truly be appreciated by people who grew up doing it in Big Fall areas, which I did. I loved all of these things, until millennials killed the joy surrounding the season.
Millennials are on something of a murdering spree—from the fashion brand J. Crew and department stores to marriage and Facebook. They’re selfish and life-ruiners and don’t care about how their inability to buy homes (because, student loans) will affect the economy! But while most of these deaths have been blamed on 20- and 30-somethings' lack of loyalty, that isn’t the case for fall. Millennials are dedicated to the season. Perhaps too dedicated. They’ve managed to kill it by smothering it with love.
Like all things bad (and some good), the problem at hand can be traced back to social media. Here’s a brief list I made of fall-related Instagram posts that have flooded my feed since the equinox came and went.
-Pumpkin spice lattes
-Too many candles
-Trips to Storm King Art Center
-Cider doughnuts (great even if they are just rebranded sugar doughnuts)
-Weekend cabin getaways
And of course, the most inescapable posts of all have to do with apple picking, which has become the epicenter of the season despite it being deemed a scam by some. This is perhaps where the downfall of fall started, with people yearning to ‘gram their Granny Smiths rather than eat them. In 2015, The Atlantic did a story where they asked professional apple farmers what they think of people who pick apples for fun. One said that, while before, people would come to buy the fruit for cheap and in bulk, “Now, they’re coming out because they want to have little Sarah get a photo under the tree holding onto a piece of fruit.”
Millennials tend to prioritize content over IRL fun a lot, and I guess they go hard for other seasons, too. Around winter we get some posts about Christmas trees and snow. Summer is about vacations and beaches and music festivals. Spring is about flowers and… rain? There’s something about fall though that’s turned people borderline obsessive. It might be science, it might be nostalgia, it's probably FOMO, whatever the reason, it seems like over the years everyone’s been on a mission to out-autumn the other.
Which is fine! Enjoy the shit out of the season and its undeniable beauty. It’s more fleeting than the others, which is perhaps another reason why we all rush to engage with it so much. We really only get around two good months of crisp Good Fall weather and leaf peeping, while we’re stuck with double that amount of the harsh cold and sweltering humidity. It's a great time of the year. So great in fact that I urge you to enjoy it with your loved ones and not through a slideshow of pictures. And, you know, maybe save some fall for the rest of us?