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!
Two weeks ago, I went on a trip with my best girl friends to the newly reopened Boracay Island. It was a trip we planned at the start of the year, and it was such an amazing one—worth the wait, indeed. It was just the break I needed. I always enjoy spending time with my amigas because it feels so nice to be able to unwind and unravel in the midst of people who know you and see you completely and without pretense.
It was a glorious week at the beach. We marveled at sunsets and ate to our heart’s content—indulgently and without restraint. We enjoyed stacks of decadent pancakes in different forms—blanketed in melted chocolate, in confetti cream cheese, and slathered in caramel. We devoured plates of tapa, adobo, and peri-peri chicken. We found ourselves digging into a dish of corned beef overflowing with cheese, and we had the best inasal at an unassuming paluto somewhere in Talipapa. Of course, we couldn’t leave Boracay without having the island’s famous fruit shakes, calamansi muffins, 4-Cheese Pizza, and sisig. And despite the heaps and heaps of delicious food we consumed, I found the most joy in fondly and lavishly sinking my teeth into the juiciest Philippine mangoes.
You see, it’s been years since I last enjoyed a mango as sweet and as succulent as the one I had on this particular trip. I just seem to never come to the Philippines when mangoes are in season, and to have had it in Boracay was pure bliss—something so natural, so organic, so simple; plucked from a tree, made its way to the market, and found its destination in my hands.
We also napped a lot. We woke up ridiculously early for breakfast, swam a bit, had some coffee, and then headed back to the hotel to take a nap. I was able to finish Sally Rooney’s Normal People, and we watched Wine Country on Netflix with bags of chips and packs of cookies scattered around. These simple moments of happiness and togetherness echo loudly in my memory as I type this. A season of slowness where all pressing matters were set aside was maybe what we all needed. My friends and I all come from different backgrounds, and our personalities are quite varying. If you’re familiar with the Enneagram, I am a Type 8, which is often described as self-confident, strong, a go-getter, assertive, protective, straight-talking, decisive, but can also be too controlling and domineering. Usually, I’d tone it down a bit when it comes to describing the type of woman I am, but I have learned to embrace myself—quirks, nuances, and all.
While one of my friends and I were splashing in the sea, we got to talking about how life seems less louder than when we were in our early 20s. Not in a bad way, of course! Maybe this is what it feels like to be entering your 30s—things are more stable and you have a tighter hold on the reins of your life. I’m not saying that we don’t have any challenges or troubles anymore; I guess there just comes a time when you simply accept that no matter what happens, life will constantly throw curve balls your way—it’s just a matter of how you navigate around them.
It’s funny, how, conversations have shifted. Before, a “How are you?” usually led to an explosive “Oh my gosh! Did you know etc etc etc” coupled with flailing arms and animated gestures. Right now, the response normally just goes, “Oh, you know, normal.” And it makes me wonder if this was the life we were all striving for in our 20s—normal, but good. There is an air of peace and a quiet joy that things are okay in its most normal sense. “I am okay. I am happy.”
There were a few pockets of time during the trip when I was contemplative and took an inventory of my life, and it led me to realize so many things that I was so grateful for. We live such fast-paced lifestyles, and a season of slowness was a very welcome gift. It disrupted the busyness and brought us back to what mattered the most—living life gratefully, to its fullest, and experiencing everything in the moment without distractions. I revel in this season, and I am embracing each moment until a new one begins.
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.