Perfumes and music are two incredibly powerful vehicles for memories. Much like photographs, they capture specific slices of our lives so effectively that words are rarely needed. With just a whiff of Paul Sebastian's Design, I'm transported back to my lower sixth English lit class on a Monday morning. I'm idly staring out the window with Tess of the D'Urbervilles in my hands. Aged 16, I'm still a blank slate, unblemished by some of the later mistakes that now make me wince in recollection. With any song on Rod Stewart's If We Fall In Love Tonight, I'm 21 again, alone in Europe and allowing his voice to embrace me as only the cosy familiarity of a native language can abroad.
I have an almost compulsive desire to chronicle my days, to find tools to hold my memories. Journals. Photographs. Music. Perfumes. Anything that my future self can discover at some distant time and see through new eyes. Like this, there is always something to learn, to delve into more deeply; reoccurring patterns that were not apparent before become glaringly obvious. The outcome is positive change.
As a new year approaches with its promise of a fresh start, the yearning to curate my memories increases. And it urges me to tackle some of my smaller bucket list dreams instead of postponing them yet again. Learn Italian. Travel some more. Re-discover the pleasure of baking and whipping up little pastries. What's more, new skills are also memory capsules: the taste of a just-out-of-the-oven quiche still calls to mind my first night with a host family in Martinique at age 17; the tinkle of knitting needles is an eternal reminder of an aunt's first visit with us when I was a little girl.
2016 is my year for more memory-making (the good kind). To kick it off, I'm getting some help from Rosetta Stone and Fuji Instax, as well as some new fragrances. I'm taking more time for me.