It used to be the first signs of fall were crisp fall leaves and football, the start of school and sweater weather. Now it’s when Starbucks unveils its pumpkin-flavored everything, which, like Christmas decorations, seems to happen earlier and earlier every year.
In a typical year, I would be all over my sister, friends, and colleagues for their PSL leanings. To me, it’s right on up there with puffer vests and plaid blanket scarves as one the most #basic fall accessories. What’s that running joke about saying “pumpkin spice latte” three times in the mirror? Something about a girl in yoga pants appearing to tell you all the things she just loves about fall? Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.
But let’s face it: this is not a typical year.
This year—full of crisis and upheaval, protest and injustice, disparity and polarization—has left us exhausted and frustrated, feeling angry and helpless all at once. We need all the energy to get through it, and I’m prepared to spend it. But this year, that energy isn’t going to be used on my annual war against the pumpkin spice latte.
Calling a Truce Against #PSL
In 2020 I feel I need to cut those I love (no matter what pumpkin-flavored beverages they love) some slack. My friends and coworkers have, like me, been beaten down by 2020. What right do I have to judge their harmless pick-me-up if it brings them a sliver of joy in a desolate day…even if that pick-me-up is a $5 cup of sugar and items from the back of your spice rack?
I have been realizing that something that has helped me get through this chaotic, uncertain, and historic time has been practicing gratitude, even—and often, especially for—the small things in life.
Numerous research studies have revealed that there is an association between practicing gratitude and feelings of well-being and small, daily practices like counting your blessings can enhance these feelings of gratitude. When we are reminded of the good in our world, we are more inclined to see the good in our world.
So if one of your daily blessings is an aggressively sweet assault on your senses disguised as coffee, who am I to stop you?
“So if one of your daily blessings is an aggressively sweet assault on your senses disguised as coffee, who am I to stop you?”
Past The Pumpkin
All jokes aside, I get it the allure of what the world of pumpkin spice holds, especially this year.
To those who revere it, PSL represents a fresh start, like those crisp fall leaves. It’s cozy and comforting. It’s hygge in a cup. And even for us non-pumpkin spice lovers, PSL still serves the purpose of reminding us that life is lived in seasons and changes, but that normality and safety eventually return.
This year, the PSL goes beyond “treat yo self” mentality. This year, it joins the fight in making 2020 less depressing. And I am all for that.
“This year, the PSL goes beyond “treat yo self” mentality. This year, it joins the fight in making 2020 less depressing. And I am all for that.”
The truth is, this year, I am thankful for the PSL even if I will never enjoy it nor understand it. I am thankful for the joy and comfort it brings others. I am thankful for the way it can brighten my friends’ days and give them something to look forward to. I am thankful that no matter whether we are aligned for our against the PSL, we can all agree to laugh about America’s obsession with it.
And I am thankful that something as minute as a seasonal drink can bring happiness to this gut-punch of a year. So if that means you want to enjoy a steaming hot beverage that smells like an air freshener, who am I to judge? You do you. I just ask that you take a moment and be thankful for it.