26 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before Turning 26

To be fair to my parents, I think they did tell me these things before I turned 26. But, like any normal rebellious teenager and young adult, I don’t think I listened to them. There are some things you just have to learn for yourself… Clearly, I am still figuring this out everyday!

Below I’ve listed out 26 things I wish someone told me before turning 26, and some of the lessons I just had to learn by myself.

DISCLAIMER: I’m pretty sure I was told all of these things VARIOUS times by my parents, friends, family, boyfriend, etc. But, of course, I didn’t listen to anyone since I’m so stubborn.

Can any of you relate? Heh..

  • People will steal from you (ideas, money, credit, etc)

My parents have been business owners for over 15 years now. They’ve started their own businesses alone, then joined forces and created their current business now. I’m sure they’ve warned me about people not being trustworthy and that they will steal from you – but, being me, I didn’t necessarily listen.

Now, as a business owner, based in a different country and language, I’ve learned that people will steal from you. They’ll steal your ideas, your money, steal the credit, etc. They’ll place the blame on you, saying that it was “theirs” to begin with and fight you for what they think is rightfully theirs.

Lesson learned: Some things are worth fighting for. Other things, require time to fix itself. But, just because someone steals from me (ideas, money, credit, etc) doesn’t mean I can’t go out and do it my own way and try to fix the problem myself, AS AN ADULT and a creative person.

  • Don’t trust no bitch (really, it’s a bad idea)

My sister describes me as being “extremely open-hearted”. I trust easily, open myself up, and am always looking to connect and build relationships. Hah – how many times has this gone and bit me in the butt? Once too many times! I know a lot of people have told me this, that not everyone can be trusted and we have to choose who we share information with carefully, but I wish I could get it through my thick skull!

Lesson learned: Trust needs to be earned, not given freely. Some people might not deserve the trust we give them – and that’s ok.

  • Wash your face every night

SIMPLE. My mom is an aesthetician! I grew up with some of the BEST skincare products out there, for professional spas and all the expensive is luxurious brands filling my bathroom and my mom’s cabinet. Did I wash my face every night? Nope. Do I was my face every night, now? Uh, I try? It’s a habit I have been working on for a LONG time and there are nights I still forget to wash with an easy exfoliant.

Lesson learned: Develop daily habits – like washing my face! Or at least weekly habits! I’m washing away all the impurities from the day, freshening my skin, and giving myself some self-love. Also, moisturizer and sunscreen are NECESSARY. They’re worth the investment.

26 things I wish someone told me, or I listened to, before turning 26. It's a long list of me admitting my stubborness and all the lessons I had to learn by myself, after ignoring all the advice... whoops! -- The Quirky Pineapple Studio
Sagres, Algarve, Portugal
  • Don’t cut your bangs by yourself

My dad is a hair stylist. He’s been cutting and dying my hair since I was a little girl. I don’t ever remember him telling me to not cut my bangs by myself though! But, I did learn this the hard way. If there is a specialist and an expert for something like cutting my bangs – let’s not mess up my entire aesthetic and cut them myself. I wish I had a photo to show you all of when I did cut my bangs by myself (and all my hair)! It came out uneven, lopsided, and my dad had to chop off all my hair, just to make sure I looked presentable…

Lesson learned: Having a specialist or expert take care of something, in business or personal life, is worth it. Saving myself from the agony of trying to fix a “mistake” or “bad job” is worth the time and money. Also, the embarrassment of looking a fool!

  • You cannot throw money at a problem to make it go away

I really wish someone told me this growing up! In the United States, I’ve noticed that the buying culture is very much based on “throwing money” at a problem and hoping that it goes away. I used to do this and I’m sure I still have tendencies that play into this very problem. For example, if I paid for a gym membership, I thought it would “motivate” me to leave my house and exercise, become fit, and ultimately be healthy. WRONG.

Lesson learned: I can’t throw money at the gym (or anything else) to make me healthier, more fit, more successful, etc. I actually needed to put my money where my mouth was and put the effort in to achieve the results I wanted for my problems. (Now, I try to make it a point to go to the gym at least 5x a week and not use the excuse that “I paid” therefore I will automatically become healthier).


Do I really have to explain this one? I feel like I’ve ALWAYS known this. That my intuition is right, that if I listen to it, then it won’t do me wrong. But, there are so many times when I ignore my intuition, ignore the gut feeling in my stomach, and try to reason with myself that this is this and that is that.

Lesson learned: My intuition is probably laughing at me and shaking its head, every single time I come around to what I had always known in the back of my mind or in my gut. Yes, sorry, intuition – you were right (once again…).

26 things I wish someone told me, or I listened to, before turning 26. It's a long list of me admitting my stubborness and all the lessons I had to learn by myself, after ignoring all the advice... whoops! -- The Quirky Pineapple Studio

  • Love is hard

Growing up, I was a hopeless romantic. Actually, I still am a hopeless romantic. I thought if you loved someone and they loved you, that it would work. That love prevails over everything and it will always win. I still believe this, but no one ever told me that love is hard – and relationships are hard work. No one ever told me that just because you love someone you’d have to learn to love ALL of them and learn to love yourself while you’re at it.

Love is hard work, relationships are hard work, and sometimes love isn’t enough! Falling in love is easy but no one ever tells you how hard it is to love with pure and true emotions. No one tells you that love is all the doubt, fear, and vulnerability you feel mixed with the rush of butterflies, flush of warmth, and comfortableness with one person.

Lesson learned: Love is hard and to REALLY feel commitment and love requires work, compromises, and accepting someone’s faults and your own.

  • Friendship is hard

Ok, if love is hard – friendship is a whole different category of difficult. A romantic relationship is one thing, but how do you tread through the waters of telling your friend they’re acting a bit nuts, that they hurt your feelings, or whatever else – without losing the friendship and getting into a huge spat about it? Also, no one told me that as you get older, finding and maintaining friends becomes significantly harder. And, no one talked to me about finding and making friends as an adult, in a different country, in a different language, in a different culture was going to be so frustrating. Help?

Lesson learned: I don’t need that many friends. I need a small group of people that understand me, support me, and have my best wishes in mind. They could be at any stage in their life, older, younger, married, kids, single, divorced, etc. Requirements for friendship – we can learn and grow from each other and push each other to become the best versions of ourselves.

  • Stay in touch

I talk about all types of relationships a lot – but that’s probably because I really believe in creating connections and building a community. All of these things are a two way street, right? The saying goes “It takes two to tango?”. No one ever told me that staying in touch and keeping up with people (not just through social media) is time consuming and requires work. I thought it just naturally happened! Completely wrong. Staying in touch takes quite a bit of effort and scheduling, especially now that I live 6 hours ahead of most of my family and friends.

Lesson learned: Build time into my schedule every week/month to send messages to the people that matter to me most. Adding in “catch up sessions”, “Skype dates”, or long emails into my schedule so that I actively make time to keep up with my friends.

  • You don’t have to be friends forever

Probably the hardest lesson I had to learn was that it’s ok if you aren’t friends forever with someone. Which is actually like a kick in the gut to me. I’ve had friends that I’ve reconnected with, people I’ve stopped talking to, and people who’ve stopped talking to me. It’s a weird and interesting cycle because I feel like it’s worse than a breakup!

Lesson learned: Sometimes people come into our lives in different seasons, to help us or give us the kick in the butt we need. Those can be friends for now, friends in the future, friends from my past, etc, but that doesn’t mean that I’ll necessarily need to be friends forever with them. I only have a small group of people I continuously connect with – and I’ve sadly lost touch with the rest.

26 things I wish someone told me, or I listened to, before turning 26. It's a long list of me admitting my stubborness and all the lessons I had to learn by myself, after ignoring all the advice... whoops! -- The Quirky Pineapple Studio

  • Your health > everything else

After my surgery in September 2017, I’ve realized that your health is NOT something to play with. Although my surgery was for something that I couldn’t necessarily control, I saw the importance of eating healthier, exercising daily, and drinking enough water! I noticed how tired my body was, recuperating from my surgery but also going 6 months without ANY exercise. I felt gross.

Lesson learned: Our health is one of the most important things we have! I need to start taking care of myself, my body, and my mind. It’s still a work in progress, but I try to add exercise (or walking somewhere), healthier food options, and meditation to my daily routine. Some days, I succeed – other days, I struggle a lot.

  • If you think you’re a coffee buff and want to drink a REGULAR coffee at 5pm – you will NOT SLEEP.

I was one of those people. I remember one of my friend’s calling me a “coffee snob” for drinking a regular caffeinated coffee at 9pm and saying that decaf is for losers. I did not sleep until 3:30am/4am that night. Another time in Madrid, I didn’t want to order a decaf, so I got myself a small regular latte at 5pm. I did not sleep until 4am that night, tossing and turning, moving, and overthinking.

Lesson learned: As I get older, caffeine takes a toll on my body/mind in a different way. While younger, I could drink a regular coffee or latte later in the evening and go to bed around midnight or later, but still be productive. My body nor my mind work like that now. I will definitely overthink, become agitated, and drive myself crazy while laying in bed counting sheep at 3:30am trying to fall asleep.

  • If you have dark hair, bleach will turn your hair orange

I think I knew this one. And since my Dad is a hair dresser, I’m VERY sure he told me this. But – I just don’t listen! If you have dark hair, especially dark Asian hair, and you bleach it – it WILL turn orange until you continue the process to lighten it. Unfortunately, I still never learn and have walked around with orangey hair…

Lesson learned: Doing something once will probably not get you the result you want. It takes time, diligence, and practice to receive the result we are looking for. Unfortunately, that also may require investing in more money. (ie: if I REALLY wanted to go blonde or have blonder hair, this would require 5+ hours in a hair salon and a few hundred euros of an investment… *sigh*)

26 things I wish someone told me, or I listened to, before turning 26. It's a long list of me admitting my stubborness and all the lessons I had to learn by myself, after ignoring all the advice... whoops! -- The Quirky Pineapple Studio

  • Get resourceful

Growing up as a first generation Vietnamese-American, in a middle-class family – I had it pretty easy. Most things were handed to me and my parents were kind enough to spoil me with almost everything I wanted. Then, when I went to college, I found out that not everything comes handed to you on a silver platter and that sometimes, people will tell you “no” or “not to do something”, when you’ve got a burning desire and pull to do it. Yes, I was spoiled, so I grew up not very resourceful!

Lesson learned: Well, don’t take it from me because I don’t want to give you bad advice or something… BUT – maybe sometimes a “no” or “don’t do something” just means we have to get resourceful and find a different way to go about things. That’s where creativity comes in, right?

  • Speak up

Ok, to be fair, my Mom has told me this numerous times. I always want to add it to lists like these because I still have to learn this lesson every single day. Speaking up isn’t only standing up for myself, being assertive, or all of that other awkward confrontational stuff I cringe at. To me, speaking up is lending a platform to people who’s voices aren’t heard, helping others harness their voice and be confident in sharing it, and being a resource for someone else to learn from me and go further than me.

Lesson learned: This is a constant ideal I need to work on everyday – not just for myself, but being able to provide for others, as well. I want to help them speak up and share with confidence and a sense of empowerment.

  • If you play victim all your life, you’ll never get anything done

I learned that playing victim and blaming other people honestly doesn’t get you anywhere. Playing victim means I don’t have control over my own actions, reactions, and emotions. It means that I am going through life on “auto-pilot” and blaming my circumstances and situations for everything. Playing victim has made me feel “helpless” and powerless because I gave more power to other people, situations, and scenarios than I gave to myself.

Lesson learned: I am sure as hell not a victim. If anything, I’m a survivor, a fighter, a strong, independent, and fierce diva. I choose to be in control of my own life and give myself the power over my actions, reactions, and emotions.

26 things I wish someone told me, or I listened to, before turning 26. It's a long list of me admitting my stubborness and all the lessons I had to learn by myself, after ignoring all the advice... whoops! -- The Quirky Pineapple Studio
Tangier, Morocco
  • MONEY IS NOT SCARY (and having a lot of it isn’t a bad thing)

Oh I have struggled with a huge money mindset block! I am scared of having a lot of money, I’m scared of looking greedy, and I’m scared I won’t ever have enough money. Contradicting thoughts, right? If I’m scared of having a lot of money and then I’m scared I won’t ever have enough money – what am I thinking?

Lesson learned: Money isn’t scary. Money is a tool that allows me to do the things I want to, live the life I want to, and also support the other entrepreneurs and small business owners that I want to. Hoarding my own money and being scared to spend is not healthy – money should continuously flow in and out of my life.

  • Plans are helpful, spontaneity makes life fun

Can you imagine a Type A/control freak like me realizing that spontaneity is what makes life fun? Yeah – this was a hard concept for me to learn. I love planning and organizing. I love having an idea of what’s going to happen and at least a plan for if that doesn’t happen. You know, Plan A, B, C, D…. etc? My boyfriend on the other hand, loves improvising and spontaneity. It gives me high level anxiety and a deep rooted secret feeling of “Fuck it, let’s just go!” feeling.

Lesson learned: A little spontaneity keeps life fun and sometimes the best things come unplanned! (But, I still think everyone should have a “general idea” of what they want/want to do… just saying…)

  • Give love a try

I think I’ve had a variation of this repeated to me various times, but I think depending on the context, it can be construed in different ways. When I was younger, I thought “giving love a try” meant relationships and all that. Then, when I was older, it was “trying to fix relationships I was in”. Now – giving love a try can be applied to so many situations in my life and how I choose to live out my days.

Lesson learned: Giving things a chance, whether it’s someone you love, something you love, a passion, a hobby, or what you feel called to do. Why not give it a try and see how it goes. My philosophy is if you can’t stop thinking about it, you might as well try it (*ahem, which is why I’m here in Spain, running my online business, and testing things out!)

  • Working hard is a requirement for success

Before I took The Quirky Pineapple Studio full-time, it was like my passion project/expensive hobby/2nd job. I worked on it after work, for another 4-5 hours, I worked on creating content every free day I had! My weekends were spent writing, drafting, editing, pitching, and recording new things for my blog. Then, when I switched full-time, things had to change. I needed more structure, more routine, and a schedule of some sort to divide my time into my content creation and marketing, but CLIENTS! It’s so hard to build that for myself and keep up with everything!

Lesson learned: A lot of people say success is like a mixture of hard work and luck. I mostly will apply that to “opportunity”. For me, working hard and staying consistent AND diligent in my work brings me success, with a dash of luck, which will present me with more opportunities.

26 things I wish someone told me, or I listened to, before turning 26. It's a long list of me admitting my stubborness and all the lessons I had to learn by myself, after ignoring all the advice... whoops! -- The Quirky Pineapple Studio

  • If you want something, you have to fight for it

I already knew this but it’s a great reminder for myself to include it in here! My mom has always told me that if I really want for something, I have to:

  • Speak up
  • Ask
  • And fight for it

Of course, when she told me this, I applied it to smaller situations in my life – like, if I wanted a raise, more responsibility at work, etc. I didn’t realize how hard the fight would be to set up my own business, be my own boss, and make enough money to sustain myself with strategy and gumption to make even more money. In my mind, I knew the “fight” would be hard, but no one told me that I’d be crying some days and then so happy other days!

Lesson learned: The fight sucks. It’s tiresome, stressful, anxiety inducing, and after all of that – when I hear that my clients are so happy and satisfied with the work I’ve produced and I’m getting PAID for it, I feel like it’s all worth it. Really, it’s cliche, but it feels so damn good.

  • Don’t be a cheap fool

To me, being a cheap fool means not investing money where money should be invested. This has happened where I’ve been a bit more frugal (I’m usually pretty frugal) and thought I would be saving a few extra dollars or euros, only to end up paying extra for a well invested item later. If those situations happen, I’m usually shaking my head at MYSELF and wondering why I wanted to be cheap when I knew it would have made sense to invest at the time…

Lesson learned: Some things, are meant to be invested in and require a little more money. For example: education, business growth, hair, clothes, skincare products, etc. For me, they’re worth the investment and will last much longer!

  • Naivety vs. Cynicism — a bit of each will help you

So hear me out for a second, because naivety and cynicism are two traits that seem to be extremely negative. If I’m naive, I have a lack of experience, judgement, or wisdom. I could be pegged as “innocent”. If I’m a cynic, I think everyone is motivated by self-interest rather than acting for unselfish reasons. To navigate the creative entrepreneurial world, I think I need a little bit of both to survive.

Lesson learned: Being naive doesn’t necessarily always mean I don’t have experience or wisdom to bring to the table. I like to take that and show that if I’m naive, I’m willing to learn and grow, try out different things, and work with whomever wants to work hard. Being a cynic doesn’t mean that I don’t trust people and think they’re all out to get me. I interpret this as being careful who I let into my inner circle and always being cautious before throwing my trust to anyone.

26 things I wish someone told me, or I listened to, before turning 26. It's a long list of me admitting my stubborness and all the lessons I had to learn by myself, after ignoring all the advice... whoops! -- The Quirky Pineapple Studio
Córdoba, Spain
  • Being a real adult is really hard

Why did I ever think that being an adult and playing “house” would be fun? Honestly, what was I thinking? Although I’m not married and without kids, I feel like the pressure is always on! There are bills to be taken care of, paperwork to be done, groceries, errands, and chores – without anyone asking you “Have you done this, yet?”, “Did you take care of that?”. They’re all things an adult has to remember and take care of themselves. Wow, this stuff is hard.

Lesson learned: I need to take things one day at a time because if I overthink this, I might lose my mind.

  • Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet

Pretty sure that when the Internet started to become more popular, A LOT OF PEOPLE SAID THIS. I don’t think I ever listened to those people and believed almost EVERYTHING I researched or found. (Do you see how naive I can be sometimes?) But with the wave of all this “fake news”, the Internet and social media becoming larger platforms for consuming news and opinion pieces, I know I can’t believe everything I read. It can’t all be true…

Lesson learned: When I learn something, that’s great. What’s better is learning and researching both sides of an argument and then creating my own opinion on the matter besides blindly agreeing or following what someone says.

  • I am my own worst enemy

Plain and simple – I am the person who holds me back the most. If I believe I can’t do something, I probably can’t do it. If I change my mindset, then things would look differently! Also, putting it out here that I’m also my own worst critic – so I hardly cut myself any slack!

Lesson learned: GRACE & GUMPTION, Pineapplers! Grace on myself that I’m doing the most I can and working hard every single day. Gumption, for continuing to go after things even when I fail and becoming resourceful.

26 things I wish someone told me, or I listened to, before turning 26. It's a long list of me admitting my stubborness and all the lessons I had to learn by myself, after ignoring all the advice... whoops! -- The Quirky Pineapple Studio
Photographed by Laura Quintero Photography

There you have it, Pineapplers – 26 things I wish I knew (or listened to) before turning 26. I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who helped me celebrate my birthday this month and for continuously showing me support with The Quirky Pineapple Studio! It means a lot that I’ve got people rooting for me and resonating with the content that I publish! I’m always working on new projects to help all of you with copywriting and content strategy, as well as, inspiring and motivating you to chase your adventure!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of the support this past year and I am ready to take on 26 by storm!

P.S. What things do you wish someone told you about “being an adult”? Share with us in the comments below!

Enjoyed this post? You might like these, too:
23 Thoughts As A New 23 Year Old
25 Regrets I Have Before Turning 25
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How NOT To Look Dirty While Traveling

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26 things I wish someone told me, or I listened to, before turning 26. It's a long list of me admitting my stubborness and all the lessons I had to learn by myself, after ignoring all the advice... whoops! -- The Quirky Pineapple Studio
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