26 Thoughts On Turning 26

I turn 26 on the 28th and I’m not quite sure what to think.

Birthdays are not something I make a big deal about for myself, but more for other people. I love organizing parties, getting people presents, surprises, and cakes. I’m all about celebrating others – mainly because no one really ever gave me any of these things except my family.

I know, that’s quite sad. But now that I’m older, I feel like its not something I should be sad about. My energy shouldn’t be spent reminiscing about my past. Now that I’m turning 26, my past is less and less revenant to me.

My mindset has definitely shifted in the past few years. I’ve become more confident, more alone, less busy, but fulfilled. It’s a weird feeling turning 26. I feel like I still have so much to do that I wanted to accomplish by this time. But it’s ok….it’s a journey isn’t it? And in a way, it’s not my fault for getting ill and having to “slow down” compared to others.

And I think I’ve learned quite a lot in 26 years, but more so in the past year. With that said, here are my 26 thoughts on turning 26.



1. I don’t look 26. I’ve been told I look like I’m in my early 20’s (20 – 22), even with makeup. And it doesn’t help that I’m 5’0. To this day I still get asked if I’m breaking curfew.

2. I don’t feel 26. But my body feels older. You thought I was going to say younger, didn’t you? Unfortunately I suffer from some pretty bad back pain. It’s a shame, because I could definitely be more active, it just hurts too much to do so.

3. Confidence is learned from bad experiences. Tough but true. I learned confidence by having those scary moments of when I had to step up to the plate and just confront people, speak in public, and do things when others didn’t.

4. Getting rid of toxic people is awesome. 2 years ago I said bye bye to toxic people in my life: flat out stopped responding to negativity and cut ties with them. I’ve never been happier!

5. I’ve learned to say NO. In relation to the above, I started saying NO to things I was uncomfortable with. I finally started getting my voice. I said NO to clients who didn’t work well, NO to jobs who didn’t want to pay me my worth. Again – my confidence has grown this past year.

6. Eating right is KEY. Turning 26 means growing closer to the age when my parents started having health problems (not that I already don’t). But I’m focusing on eating organic and non inflammatory foods so I beat my genetics and stay healthy as I age.

7. Water isn’t optional anymore. Speaking of eating habits, aside from coffee & water, I’ve quit all other beverages. Believe what they tell you: drinking your water is so important for your health (and skin).

8. Saving money is more important then owning “stuff” or experiences. Over the past year, I’ve managed to save enough money to take a mini vacation (which I won’t be taking). It’s been a hard journey – the pressure to keep up with the Jonses is real. But it’s a long term game I’m willing to play.

9. People will always have something to say. As a blogger and someone with a disability, it seems people always have something to say about me. I usually get comments about my visual impairment. It hurts, but a lot of people just don’t know how to mind their manners. People will always talk. It’s up to you how you react.

10. Trends go as fast as they come. Which is why I always just stick to my personal style: classic, feminine, and timeless. My closet never goes out of style.

11. There’s never a “right” time. Patience is something I’ve developed over the past year as I watched a few plans of mine fail. There never is a right time, but there is a time that is right – and that’s something you won’t know until afterwards.

12. I’m old school and LOVING it. Remember those toxic people I got rid of? They used to call me wannabe 50’s housewife because I liked wearing vintage inspired dresses and watching film noir movies. Well, I’m definitely embracing it more than ever this year. “Haters gonna hate” I say as I sip my coffee and put on my cat eyeliner.

13. I need my daily alone time. Over the past year, I’ve learned that I need some alone time to really get my creative juices flowing. No offense to my loved ones, but being with people all time time can be draining. Do you ever feel like this?

14. Trust your intuition. My gut instinct has been 100% right this year. Trust your gut, it’s probably right.

15. My taste in furniture is getting modern ( & expensive). I’m shamefully admitting I’ve thought about purchasing $400 chairs and nightstands from places like Lulu & Georgia or West Elm. I’m definitely a bargain girl and these places are not bargain friendly. I guess I’m just ready to “update” my home.

16. I can’t live in the midwest anymore. This year I learned that my body is just not ok living in the midwest anymore. I need warmth and sea air to get better. So this next year I need to focus on getting a plan of action to move.

17. If you can’t stop thinking about it, pursue it with passion. I often think about my blog and business when I’m doing other things and that was a clear sign to me that I needed to take some time after graduating to really try and make this thing work. I love blogging!

18. Planning your day is crucial. Balancing work and play isn’t easy. But I’ve learned that planning out your day ahead of time is the best way to keep yourself accountable.

19. No one really knows what is going to happen. My doctors don’t know if I’ll live a long life, when I’ll lose my vision, don’t know if I can have this operation or that. No one knows anything right now and yes,  it’s scary. But it’s also hopeful that the future holds better things for me and that I will have enough time to do everything I want to do.

20. I get excited for the little things. New doormat? Amazing. A walk to the grocery store? Let’s go! I’m just so much more excitable about the small things now and it’s a way for me to appreciate the day.

21. Plants are love to me. 20 and counting! I have plants everywhere and for some reason this year they are growing like crazy. They help with cleaning the air inside the home and making me think of summer.

22. Group projects will still be horrible. I thought my days of group projects were over in high school. Little did I know my grad program would require a group project in every class. And guess what? Even 26 yr olds still don’t know how to be responsible in class. The amount of texts and emails I have to send and receive just to turn a flyer in is insane.

23. Travel is not necessary right away. I haven’t left the country in 10 years. Travel is not a necessity in your 20’s. Don’t feel pressured to travel and “find yourself” if you can’t afford it.

24. When everyone ZIG’s, you ZAG. Learned this from a book called The Brand Gap. Basically, if everyone is doing one thing, you should definitely go the opposite route to create tension and differntiation: in fashion, in trends, in building your business.

25. Wellness is really important. If you want to feel good you need to take care of you before taking care of anyone else. I’ve developed a wellness routine this year of doing acupressure, yoga, and diffusing oils for less stress. Totally game changing!

26. This is just the beginning. There are better things ahead and it’s just going to get better if I keep positive and work at my goals. 26 shouldn’t be a scary thing.




Behind The Blog

The Petite Bijou is an online destination featuring wholesome yet sophisticated living and styling tips for women. The site is run by survivor, lifestyle influencer, and writer Mariam, who also runs The Bijou Show, a self help podcast.

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Leave a Comment


  1. Bryanna wrote:

    Girl, I totally feel .you on not looking or feeling my age. Just wait till we are in our 40s and we’ll look 26.

    Literally laughed out loud at “I don’t feel 26. But my body feels older.” Couldn’t have said it even better. Happy belated birthday girl, and hope 26 is treating you well!

    xoxo Bryanna

    Posted 4.10.18 Reply
  2. Suzanne wrote:

    Such a lovely post. Happy belated, x! ~Suzanne

    Posted 3.30.18 Reply
  3. I love your style and cute bangs! These thoughts are spot on.

    Posted 3.28.18 Reply
  4. Girl, it’s all definitely a journey! I just turned 29 and was like what am I doing. It is all a process, and seeing all your growth is far more important than seeing what you have not done.

    Denise | Fashion Love Letters

    Posted 3.28.18 Reply
  5. Auneetuh wrote:

    Haha I really enjoyed the read!

    Posted 3.28.18 Reply
  6. Whit wrote:

    Happy Birthday, babe! so exciting! love this list!


    Posted 3.28.18 Reply
  7. Nicole wrote:

    Well this Post was amazing and thank you for your honest opinion and openness with us, your readers! Sending you positivity for your next year of life and living it to your fullest 🙌🏻❤️

    Posted 3.27.18 Reply
  8. Delia wrote:

    These points are all so good! I wanted to choose which was my fav but I can’t! Happy Birthday!

    Posted 3.27.18 Reply
  9. Delia wrote:

    Wow! I was trying to decide which point was the best brut they’re all good! Happy Birthday!!!

    Posted 3.27.18 Reply
  10. Deborah wrote:

    Happy birthday! What a great idea for a post – 26 was such a great year for me and I hope it is for you too!

    Posted 3.27.18 Reply
  11. Nataly wrote:

    Great tips here girl! Hope you had a happy birthday!

    Posted 3.27.18 Reply
    • Mariam wrote:

      Thank you so much! So appreciate your comment and for stopping by


      Posted 3.27.18 Reply
  12. Kileen wrote:

    I LOVE this post girl!! SO many important lessons you’ve listed here…I would have to agree with all of these!! & happy birthday!!!

    cute & little

    Posted 3.26.18 Reply
    • Mariam wrote:

      Thank you so much Kileen! I really appreciate your comment.

      Posted 3.27.18 Reply
  13. I love all of these points! So true and valid. Wisdom really does come as the years go on!! <3

    Posted 3.26.18 Reply
  14. Shay wrote:

    This is a great idea for a blog post!

    Posted 3.26.18 Reply
    • Mariam wrote:

      Hi Shay,

      I thought it was a fun post to write! Thank you so much for leaving a comment.


      Posted 3.26.18 Reply
  15. Amber wrote:

    I think you hit the nail on the head with your list! It breaks my heart that people talk about your disability. Like you said, people are going to talk no matter what. I just feel like if people are talking about you, you caught their attention and they need to feel good about themselves by bringing down others. I say F them!

    I hope you have a great birthday!

    Posted 3.26.18 Reply
    • Mariam wrote:

      Hi Amber,

      Thank you so much for your comment. I really appreciate it. It breaks my heart too – I’ve spoken with a lot of disabled people (and women) who have experienced the same thing. People are lacking in manners – BIG TIME. Thank you for the great birthday wish!


      Posted 3.26.18 Reply