Here at Preen, we’re fully aware that adult life doesn’t always go as smoothly (and look as beautiful) as curated Instagram feeds. We all face challenges amidst all the good things. Meet Mikka Wee, a former food editor-turned-working gal in Singapore, who’s about to share all the ups and downs that come with adulting and living. Welcome to Bless This Mess!
If we’ve traveled together, you know that I have this habit of keeping tickets, receipts, snack boxes, and even merchandise stickers. It’s been one of those things that I’ve always done since I was young, and I guess, have carried over until the present. I know, it’s a bit contradictory to my whole plan of living a more minimalist life; but to tell you the truth, memories are the one thing I don’t mind hoarding, apart from books.
All these scraps of paper, maps, stamps, stickers—yellowing with age and have grown brittle through time, are some of my most prized possessions. If I recall clearly, I still have a bit of the bandage from my first sprained ankle glued to one of my first few diaries, as well as rose petals from prom kept in a tiny Ziploc bag.
I believe 100 percent that I got this from my mother. In her drawer rests a little tin mooncake box. Inside this box lies perhaps some of the grossest and oldest traces of my DNA neatly sealed in tiny Ziploc bags and amber bottles (which I don’t dare to open!). I’d divulge the contents right now, but out of due respect (if any one of you are eating while reading this), I won’t. My first baby mittens are still in her safekeeping, as well as pieces of paper with my first thumbprint or footprint. In this digital age, that’s pretty tough to replicate. I also sleep with my first bolster—named “Pily” (pronounced pee-lee)—every night. Pily has undergone a transformation of sorts, but Pily brings me the comfort of home and of my mother. I used to always bring Pily whenever I’d travel as a child, meriting thousands of eye-rolls from my grandma. Imagine her shock when I told her that I brought Pily to Singapore to live with me as well.
My husband knows this habit of mine so well that whenever we would travel together, he would hand me ANYTHING he could find that I could keep in my journal. He says he finds it cute—especially when I told him I saved the receipt of the last item we bought from our Japan mini-moon—but deep down, I feel that he finds it weird sometimes, especially when I would keep chopstick wrappers or candy wrappers (there was one time our Uber driver in Melbourne handed us some candy while we were having a nice chat with him—that was something I wanted to remember forever).
And this is why I love keeping memories—tangible, tactile memories—even if it’s just from a normal day. It’s like my version of a Portkey (sorry for the Harry Potter geekery!) wherein I am instantly transported to the location and moment of the memory. Just like a special song or a dish from home that brings you back to an unforgettable moment, all these keepsakes I collect do the same thing.
I believe it’s the old soul in me that prefers to keep all these palpable items kept in journals and diaries just because they’re very sensory. They’re all just so raw, real, and unedited—and I love this so much about things that I can touch and feel. I know not everyone can understand it and that’s totally fine. My husband wonders all the time why I still use a planner when there are so many apps that I can download, and I tell him that it’s the method that works for me. I still keep a blog, though, as a digital platform for photos and words. And while the blogging trend has somehow faded, I still use it to share what I love to a wider audience and connect with people who share the same interests as I do. Remember those Live Journal days?
Whenever I visit Manila, I carve out some time to open and unearth some old journals and photo albums and flip through some lines I wrote during my teenage years. I like revisiting photos, movie tickets, and faded Neoprint stickers with friends and cousins and family. Seeing old goals crossed out, forgotten, and achieved also allows me to measure where I am in life and what personal goals I would like to revisit and set for myself moving forward.
Lastly, these memories are a reminder that life is good, even though it doesn’t go our way sometimes. It’s my secret in getting through bad days, and it feels like a good enough meditation for me when I bring out my memorabilia and ephemera and start putting everything together. This is my favorite part because I get to revisit a happy moment and relive it somehow. Some collections will also be kept private, some, perhaps I will share to my child/ren one day.
My memories are my treasure, and it’s probably the only thing I wouldn’t want to be a minimalist with. Perhaps, maybe what I really want to create out of all this is my own personal museum of moments to look back on and to remind me that this life, despite its quirks and challenges, is always worth living.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Preen.ph, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.