How pop-culture vernacular influences my fall era

Haley Alvarez-Lauto | Graphic Artist

Trends come and go — typically perpetrated by Tik Tok videos and my parents asking me to explain the joke. 

But every once in a while, a trending phrase sneaks into my vocabulary. We become addicted as the word begins to feel like the only appropriate way to describe something. 

These words carry weight — and differing degrees of personal shame — for my past self. I can still hear my 10-year-old self exclaim “YOLO!” as I jumped into a pool, or my 16-year-old self respond with “lit” rather than a respectable “okay!”

Most questionable, however, is last year’s return of “slay,” which I still cannot shake. It’s as if our everyday vernacular has a revolving door for the word of the month. This word for me right now is the term era.

Going to the gym? I am in my fitness era. Studying all day? Academia era. Filled up my water bottle? Hydration era.

Eras can be momentary or longstanding, and they can overlap. They perfectly describe a portion of my life in a way that is sure to make my friends laugh and fully understand. Using the word “era” makes me feel like I am on a sitcom and the writers are describing my current storylines. At this point, I am sure you are begging to find out what era I am currently in. 

I am in my chai latte era!

Now, this means many things to me. First and foremost, my current coffee shop order of choice is a hot chai latte with almond milk. 

To me, a perfect fall day is meant for a chai latte. The crisp air begs for a warm beverage. The ambiance of foliage demands to be seen while tasting the perfect combination of autumnal spices.

However, even in a New England city like Boston, Mother Nature does not always agree with the calendar. Little does she know, I am stubborn. 

If it is one of those oddly warm October afternoons, an iced chai will do. I also order a dirty chai with coffee in it on mornings when I need more caffeine. Maybe the weather does not allow for a sweater or my two midterms call for a double shot of espresso, but I can always find a way to embrace my festive era.

The true magic of eras is that they can encapsulate much more than the obvious. There are many days I make my coffee at home, forgoing any degree of chai. However, that does not mean I am out of my chai latte era. It is a label for a greater feeling — the feeling of a perfect autumnal chai latte day. 

I am in my chai latte era when I listen to “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version),” when I admire the changing leaves on my walk home from class or when I buy the pumpkin bagels at Trader Joe’s. Anytime I could be enjoying a chai latte, I am in my chai latte era.

In a few years, I am sure I will return to this article and cringe at the number of times the word “era” was used. For now, I am embracing the chai latte — before I transition into my peppermint mocha (with almond milk) era for the winter.


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