Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009: The Year that Has Been

English is a funny language, even for native speakers.  All those fabulous words to choose from, forming a rich and nuanced pool of options for expression.  All that streamlining and collapsing and utter elimination of verb conjugations, with various forms understood by one written expression.  The kind of stuff native English speakers curse when they find in other languages:  “Plus perfect? What the heck is perfect?” and “Third person singular neuter?  Why the heck are you distinguishing between gender, let alone distinguishing and then throwing it out the window for Door #3?”

Yeah, it’s quirky.

But English lets me express a theme that helped define my year in a seemingly bland and potentially awkward title like “2009: The Year that Has Been.” 

The choice would seem to be “2009: The Year that Was,” or, to bring it closer to my subject, “2009:  The Year in Perfume.”  The Year that Was, inviting a list of fill in the blank declarations of static fact.

Fact is, this has been a year of many states, morphing, and much learning, on going.  This was, is, and always will be, The Year That Has Been.  Including with perfume.

In 2009, I have been covetous, dismissive, obsessive, apathetic, passionate, and distanced.   With perfume.  Okay, in my life overall, too, but particularly with perfume.

I have expanded my collection to a size that causes me some discomfort when asked to show it to non-perfume mortals.  Yet I still have moments when I find myself jealous of someone else’s stash of, say, vintage Jolie Madame, or another person’s array of Serge Lutens bell jars.  My personal code of conduct has evolved to the point where I will allow myself a moment of jealousy IF IT IS A PERFUME I AM FAMILIAR WITH AND LOVE AND WOULD WEAR ON A REGULAR BASIS.  Otherwise, I have to proceed directly to step two, which is nod to the wealth which is perfume in the world, be happy for that person, and move on.  If I’m having trouble with that last step, I make myself go look at all the samples and decants I have that await final decisions or disbursement, and tell myself to get over it already.

Mind you, the room I go to do this is a room we grandly call The Library.  Which I have always wanted to have in a house.  Which has now been created out of what was intended to be a small bedroom.   Which allows me to put [almost] all of my books up on shelves, visible, touchable, smellable...a sensual map of stories and ideas that have already passed through my brain and others that await exploration.

Which, come to think of it, is an apt descriptor of why I love having a perfume “library.”  It appears covetous and obsessive.  To be totally honest, in some ways, it is.  But it is also passionate.  

But wait, you say, you have also been...apathetic?  Distanced?  Yes, in 2009, I have found myself hitting a wall.  In perfume, and in other endeavors.  If I were smart enough, I’d recognize this state; it has reared up in the past when going down a path that is difficult, whether the challenge is creative (and invited) or interpersonal (invited or unexpected).  What feels like a shut down, a lack of caring, is really me going inward.  Taking a break, if you will, so that I can process in a different way.  What generally happens is that I end up coming out on the other side, feeling at peace, having a renewed curiosity and energy, and proceeding with a greater sense of comfort with the challenge.

What has been interesting about 2009 is that I have been presented with a new face on what should been a known demon.  I thought I totally lost interest in perfume.  But really, I had to stop the external input for a while, and let stuff rumble around in nooks and crannies that I understand are there but I can’t see.  I have had to, in perfume and in life, relearn the lessons of application and processing, of influencing and waiting, of understanding and reunderstanding.  Big shifts that cannot have every visible moment defined or controlled.

In 2009, I have been in control, and totally out of control.  

The Best of the Best of 2009 has been embracing both.

There have been perfume revelations in 2009, which shall affect my perfumed future.  Here are some I’ll be exploring in my Transition to 2010:

“I Tried It, I Finally Get It, I Still Don’t Like It:  So ‘Souko Me”

“The Waves:  Dedication, Exploration, Puttering, Rest”

“That’s Right, I’m Purging:  Your Name Below if you’re interested in inheriting this bottle”

“Aw, I *Like* Havana Vanille”

Other bests of 2009:

☄Adding new favorite blogs to my stable, like I Smell Therefore I Am and Olfactorama.

☄Adding some full bottles to my collection, and playing like a big girl.  I now have En Passant and L’Eau d’Hiver, both of which some would challenge as “real” perfumes.  Ask me if I care.  I love them, and would feel as sad about never ending up with them as I would if I never am able to land a vintage chypre.

☄Scoring a couple of old formula Silences at a profoundly reasonable price.

☄Wearing Madame Rochas and having my spouse note the “nice smelling perfume” that “is interesting, did it change?” during a nuzzle.  Score one for old fashioned perfume!  Score again for reasonable price!!  Score thrice for having spouse recognize and appreciate one’s own quirky interests!!!

☄Meeting in person a someone who had been an acquaintance in perfume, segued into a fun and interesting correspondent, and who now is truly a friend.  Very cool.  Very much one of life’s blessings.

☄You.  You came to read this.  How cool is that?

Enjoy the remainder of 2009, whatever it has been and shall be determined to have been.  ☺

Speaking of enjoying the waning hours of 2009, don't forget to visit other bloggers in this project: