Assmus: It’s okay to be obsessed with pumpkin spice

Last week I got Starbucks for my supervisor and myself. As I sat next to her, sipping on my drink, she asked what I got, after stating that it looked really good. I hesitantly responded—since I was a little embarrassed—that it was a pumpkin spice frappuccino. She laughed and and said that she saw a cartoon about someone also being embarrassed about getting a pumpkin spice drink this early in the season.

After this encounter, I began to think, why was I embarrassed? Was it because it was only the second week of September, still a long time until the official start of the fall season? Or was it because the idea of conforming to mainstream culture of pumpkin-spice-everything that is often considered “basic” and unoriginal?

To be considered the same as everyone else in society, or to be labeled as “basic”, feels like it is an insult at times and against the idea of being unique and choosing your own path. Yet I can’t help but feel a little excited that it is once again fall, my favorite season, and enjoy all of the pumpkin products that stores have to offer. Perhaps being excited about pumpkin-flavored coffee drinks, food or scented soaps and candles is not such a bad thing.

Everyone needs something to look forward to in order to get through their work week and to break time, whether that is a vacation or just the weekend. Holidays are also something that people look forward to, and these can be different for people depending on their religious or cultural views. One thing that we share in common—in this region at least—is the change of the seasons, the change of leaves and the milder temperatures.

Identification with mainstream culture, especially finding one that can apply to so many people, is not something that should be shunned. Going against this culture and believing in your own views should also be encouraged and celebrated. If being excited about fall, drinking pumpkin coffee and eating pumpkin flavored foods are things that can help people destress and feel good about, then I am all for being “basic.” So instead of being embarrassed about ordering a pumpkin drink next time, I am simply going to enjoy it.
Abby Assmus is a graduate bioethics and social work student.