Why Are We Struggling Now?

Nora Zelevansky
4 min readSep 30, 2022

The transition into fall is especially hard this year. Here’s why.

Photo by Autumn Mott Rodeheaver on Unsplash

This morning, I woke up exhausted. In fact, everyone in my house did.

When my husband went upstairs at the usual time to give the kids breakfast, he found everyone still asleep. The 8-year-old. The 5-year-old. Even the cat.

This is not the norm.

It’s still relatively warm in Brooklyn. Though the temperature has begun to drop, it’s been reaching the 60s and 70s most days. The sun has been shining. It’s been glorious, actually. And yet we’re all dragging.

Over text and when I’ve run into parent friends in the neighborhood for the past two weeks, there’s been lots of talk about kids not listening, seeming blue, acting out, less enthusiastic than usual about school.

We ask each other, “How are you?” And, most of the time, the answer is something approximating, meh.

So, what’s going on? Why are we all so demoralized?

It’s tempting to blame Mercury Retrograde and spotted lanternflies for everything, but the truth is, astrological aspects and invasive species aside, transitioning from summer to fall is often challenging. There’s a sense of moving from freedom to confinement, from openness to inwardness. As Ali Greco, PsyD, director of user experience at mental health platform, SonderMind, says, “Transitions take effort! With school resuming, schedules can get hectic. Fall also brings shorter days and lots of darkness.”

But I personally love fall, usually, despite all that. It’s my favorite season. Yes, even over summer, though my husband is sure that shows questionable judgement.

And it’s not just because fall is when my birthday happens. I love it for all the cliché reasons: the smell of fireplace, the changing leaves, the chunky sweaters, the comfy high-top sneakers and boots and the fact that it’s never 95 degrees on the subway platform. I love that my kids are back in school. I love the structure, the crisp breeze, the flushed cheeks, the walks through the park.

So, why, at this particular moment, am even I — an autumnophile — struggling with its arrival? (I just coined that term, by the way. You can use it too. You’re welcome.)

Nora Zelevansky

New novel: COMPETITIVE GRIEVING (Blackstone). New nonfiction: ROLL RED ROLL (Hachette ). Bylines: NY Times, T&C, WSJ etc. https://norazelevansky.com/