Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Mountain Voices

I've got considerable experience of teaching, so I should know better than most people that the first steps up the mountain tend to be the hardest. Still, when you're the one who's doing the travelling, it's hard not to get despondent. Or maybe the reason why I'm feeling overwhelmed is because my teaching experience also tells me that when you reach the top of the mountain, you usually find that there's another, even taller mountain right in front of you.

There are times when I think that pursuing my interests is silly, that I should just 'grow up', be sensible and push aside all my 'unrealistic' dreams and ambitions. There are times when I allow the rational voice inside my head to dominate: 'You don't have a background in chemistry'; 'You've got no connections with France/Grasse/the perfume industry etc.'; 'You're setting yourself up to compete against people much younger than you who are actually attending perfumery schools and obtaining qualifications'; 'You're devoting too much precious time to what should only be a casual hobby'; 'You know you've got better things to do, other ambitions to fulfil'.

And then sometimes I think of this woman I know. When she was in her mid-50s, she left Africa - where she'd already founded a respected University - and went to the Middle East. She learned English. She met people. She made contacts. And she founded what has become one of the most successful schools in that part of the world. That school is now one of several in a chain. And she's now in her 80s and writing a book about some of her experiences.

Time to focus on the positives. This week, I hope to visit the Haute Parfumerie at Harrod's for the first time, which should be fascinating, and I'm also hoping that a stock of some new perfume supplies will arrive in the post before too long.

Onward and upward...


  1. Thanks for sharing your worries - I found mine are pretty similar to what you listed in this entry. It seems you can't be happy in life if you don't follow your heart. And it's difficult, because what your heart tells you doesn't always seem to be the best option (especially in the social opinion). But Her Majesty Fortune doesn't like to cooperate if you don't follow your heart :o)

  2. True, true... but it's unquestionably harder starting something a little later in life, especially something into which it's quite difficult to enter anyway, even if you're quite young, well-connected etc.

    Still, I mustn't allow my darker moods to get the better of me. I'm still in the opening stages of this new journey. In fact, I can't even say that I've actually, properly embarked on the journey yet. I guess I'm just on the brink, weighing up the options, wondering if I can afford to take the plunge... the key word being 'afford' ;-)

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  3. Mustn't allow your darker moods to get better of you? I am not quite sure - I guess there is a strong connection between melancholy and perfumery :o) And darker moods are probbaly not well understood and accepted in our society, but they definetly have a reason to come and I think even a healing capacity :o)Perfumery can be so frustrating sometimes but so amazing and inspiring as well!


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