Smell This

When I was a teenager, I used to babysit for a family that was the complete antithesis of mine. They were still married, they went to church every Sunday, and it was a family rule that they eat together every night. Their home smelled like something that, to this day, I cannot explain, but when that mysterious scent crosses my path, I think of family, security, and a childhood I so desperately wanted for myself.

The power of smell is so powerful that it has even become a money-making industry. A tobacco/fig infused candle can run $100 – easily. Businesses are hiring companies to pump scents such as grapefruit, green tea, or even “the essence of strength” through their ventilation systems. Why spend money on infused air?

This is a question I ask myself often because I have a candle obsession. There is always at least one burning in my house when I am awake and at home. When it is time to throw one away, I always shake my head and think, “I am literally burning money,” but that does not stop me from running to my local Ross or TJ Maxx to horde as many discount candles as possible. If I stopped my candle passion, I could fit in one more international vacation each year. But no. Why are we so connected to smelling nice things?

The bottom line is, scent is important. It’s part of the human experience. We learn from smell. The scent of an old book alerts our brain that it’s time to focus. The smell of a natatorium reminds us that it’s time to get physical. Grandma’s fried chicken means it’s time to eat while stale cigar smoke may remind you of your favorite uncle.

We take scent for granted, but it’s an important part of life. It can spark joy, nostalgia, and even a little bit of sadness, but that’s OK. Feeling things through scent is part of being a human being. So do yourself a favor… Keep your nose in check, and don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.

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