I've been reminiscing a lot lately through my sense of smell. It is said that smell is the sense that most strongly relates to memory. I have found this to be true in my own life, and I've used the memory-evoking power of smell very deliberately.
Beginning in high school, I started assigning certain perfumes or body sprays to specific trips. I think this began after I realized how much I loved using smell to evoke strong memories and emotions. I can pinpoint this to a very specific and wonderful smell--an iced-tea scented body wash. This body wash is a European brand called Fa that I purchased during my family's trip to Hungary when I was 14. I used this body wash during the majority of our two weeks there, and also purchased two bottles to bring home with me. Once returning to the States, I found myself longing to be back in Europe--that enchanting place. So I'd pull out my bottle of iced-tea scented body wash, close my eyes and breathe the smell in deeply. Suddenly, I was back there. I could feel the way I felt when I was there, and this was magical to me. Thus, a habit was formed.
Basically every trip I've been on since then has had an assigned perfume. And other items, such as scented lotions or body wash I brought along or purchased en route, have served this same purpose. I love that for some special trips, I have several scents to serve as my magical time-transporters. Obviously this has resulted in my accumulation of an absurd amount of perfumes, lotions, and body sprays, but they each still have that very special memory-evoking power.
Other scents have unintentionally been assigned to certain periods in my life. For example, I wore Ralph Lauren Polo Sport Woman every day in high school. Whenever I smell this--BOOM--I'm back there. Sitting here thinking about it, I could produce quite a long list of scents I associate with certain periods of my life. I just love that.
I open a bottle, breathe in, and suddenly I am back in time, reliving moments and remembering feelings I had forgotten. I can remember how I saw life at that time. Then I spritz myself a few times, and as I walk out the door into the world in my present life, I am carrying emotions and memories of wonderful times right with me. These scents help me remember where I've been, and help remind me of where I'm going.