1. Caught in 46 degree morning temperatures without a proper jacket, are you walking out of your way to be on the sunny, warmer side of the street? Or do you tighten the muscles you learned to relax on the beach, cursing the designers who have yet to make a jacket that actually keeps you warm in this weather without being a depressingly winter-like puffer jacket?
2. Is your throat feeling scratchy and have you recently bought vitamins and Purell?
3. Do you clench your teeth when passing mums and pumpkins being sold at the deli, grappling with inner rage that it’s JUST TOO EARLY for them? Yet, did you consider going online to buy Nutcracker tickets?
4. Are you feeling like you should update your LinkedIn account and get the ball rolling on your nebulous projects that shouldn’t be so nebulous?
5. Are you consuming more (store bought) baked goods, like brownies with sea salt? And are you still gluten-free or is it more like gluten-light, soon to be gluten-full, 100%?
6. Did you opt for a gentler yoga class because you secretly just want to wrap yourself up in a blanket and be in corpse pose for an hour and a half?
7. Have you started to sharpen pencils already or are you going back to Staples yet again for the already pre-sharpened kind? And while we’re on the topic of Staples, is your wallet stuffed with a mile-long Staples rebate receipt that will save you $3 IF you just go online and fill out — yawn, too tired?
8. Now that your summer tan is fading and you are spending more time in fluorescent light, are you considering using the Retin-A cream your dermatologist mentioned in passing (no, insurance doesn’t cover it, yes it’s $160 a pot) while she was removing a mole because “It looks kind of weird”?
9. Are you finally free to go to that museum you joined — oh wait, the membership expired?
10. Have you lost energy for the upkeep? When was your last pedicure? Are you flossing?
If you answered “yes” to any the above, you are doing just beautifully at facing what is an underrated hardship — the back-to-reality transition from Summer to Fall and all the colds and fatigue that comes with it. You will survive. It could be worse. Just think of my mom, whose new linen shirt was super stuck to an industrial strength sticky mouse trap at the spa.
Molly MacDermot is a noted expert on teens and has served as Editor in Chief of the teen magazines M, QuizFest, AstroGirl, and J-14.