On, Up, and Thanks For The Reality Checks

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5 days ago, I resigned from a job that I love.

It’s a job that has given me three years of excitement, experience, free champagne and some great friends, but for a while now I’ve known that it wasn’t where I wanted to be for the rest of my life.

But as ‘carpe diem’ as I can be when it comes to skydiving, going to Japan for a long weekend and drinking kava from a plastic drum in a ni-Vanuatu lady’s front yard, I can be an absolute wimp when it comes to life’s big decisions. So if we want to be specific, that “while” has been six months of stressing about loyalty to my boss and that uniquely millennial first world problem of wondering if I was living up to my full potential and following my passion (side note: I don’t believe that everyone has a “passion” in life. But that’s a whole other post on its own) and if it was going to be a case of the-grass-is-greener.

But after a lot of back and forth a brilliant opportunity finally slapped me in the face, and in two weeks I start a great new job! As much as I love my old one, I’d been there since I was 19 so this is basically the start of a whole new era – one with a lot of potential for growth and the handy bonus of a lot more spare time for getting my butt (and my blog) back into shape. And I’m ridiculously happy.

Extra bonus: the team at the old job are all very happy for me.

I hope anyone else sitting on the fence (and in my own 6 months up there, I found a few of you) finds this and realises it’s time to jump. But the real reason for this post is to give a massive THANK YOU to the six people it took to push me off. Without the reality checks they delivered in one way or another, I’d probably still be up there – hopefully they can give you a shove too.

1, 2 & 3 – My mum, Brandon, and an ex-colleague named Laura
for convincing me that it was time to put myself first for a change, and that I’m well and truly young enough for some trial-and-error in the career department.

4 – Stefania from The Something New
I still don’t really know how Stefania stumbled across my Instagram over a year ago, but I’m so glad that she did. Stefania and her blog manage to put into words so many of the things that I believe about life and getting the most out of it, so almost every quote she posts seems to strike a chord. The one which she has annoyingly (but only because it prompted a change I was too wimpy to act on at first) repeated that finally tipped the scales was the below – so thank you Stefania (and Robin Sharma).

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5 – Amber Hawken
Amber was one of my boot camp trainers years ago, and got me through a lot of tough times as a 19 year old fumbling my way through uni and a new city – usually by yelling at me to run faster up a hill (it worked), sometimes with coffee dates. I haven’t seen her in years, but thanks to her new ventures I still get the no-bullshit Amber brand of tough love, just through Youtube videos rather than boxing sessions. The below is the first one that I watched – it really ripped the rug out from under me and made me recognise my stimulus addiction (and why I had it), and I’m forever grateful.

6 – Phoebe from Little Grey Box
I’ve always loved Phoebe’s writing, and insane jealousy of her travels is probably the only reason I’m able to save any money at all. So a few months ago, just when I’d finally realised “maybe it’s time to move on,” I went along to her talk at the Apple Store in Brisbane. I can’t for the life of me remember what her words were exactly, but in speaking about leaving a desk job (admittedly not something I plan to do) she reinforced what I’d kinda-sorta-maybe started to think for myself – that even if you’re not 100% sure what the next step is and if it will work, that’s no reason to stay somewhere that isn’t the best place for you anymore. So thank you Phoebe! Now to just work out those braids…

Next step – try not to cry on my last day at the office, and to book myself back into boot camp!

If you’ve had any tough love reality checks lately, I’d love to hear about them xx

Jessi

 

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23 Ways to Brighten Someone’s Day

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Trust In Humanity Tuesday #13:  23 Ways To Brighten Someone’s Day

I’ve been jotting things in my note book for a while now, trying to have a few great posts lined up before I got back into this blogging thing, but today I thought “fuck it” and here I am.* Carpe diem and all that. So welcome to the first Trust in Humanity Tuesday since September! This one’s a little different.

Fun fact: even if you think there are no nice people in the world, just be a nice person yourself and then there’s at least one. Most likely more – it’s contagious. Then bam, faith in humanity = restored.

For the past few weeks I’ve been obsessed with random acts of kindness and generally just brightening people’s days. I’ve been writing for More Love Letters, sending people flowers and making an effort to smile and say hi to strangers in elevators. I think it started because I had one really good week and I subconsciously wanted to spread the good vibes around? I don’t know. But I do know that when you do nice things for other people, they get happier. And that makes you happier in a way that other things can’t. And when you’re happier, strangers are friendlier, the people around you are lovelier, and very very few people seem like complete dicks.

So this week’s Trust In Humanity Tuesday us about taking that trust into your own hands – no pep talks from kids dressed up as presidents required (although that does help). Here are a couple of my favourite, super easy ways to brighten someone’s day – some for strangers, some for people you know well:

  1. Send someone flowers (small businesses like Poco Posy make it super easy and affordable to do this regularly).
  2. Pay for the person behind you at the cafe, or buy a suspended coffee (find a cafe that offers suspended coffees in your area here)Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 11.05.37 pm
  3. Offer tissues to someone who has been crying. I always carry one of those tiny purse packs for this reason – let’s be real, those things are never enough if you’re actually sick so I’m fairly sure this was what they’re meant for. This might not fix their day, but it will make it a little less shit, at least for a moment.
  4. Send a text to someone you haven’t spoken to in ages, reminding them of one of your favourite memories, or congratulating them on a recent achievement.
  5. Buy a train/bus/ferry ticket from the fare machine and give it to a stranger heading into the station.
  6. Leave a tip (or if you’re in America or somewhere that it’s mandatory, leave a bigger tip).
  7. Sign up to volunteer – mentor a kid, be a Big Issue pitch pal, help a refugee with their English, whatever – it’s less immediate, but the rewards will be greater.
  8. Write a letter to a loved one.
  9. Or write a letter to a stranger
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  10. Buy a magazine that you know a friend or family member would love and then fill it with sticky notes – mark your favourite articles, comment on ridiculous images, relate things to inside jokes or just notes saying “this reminded me of you.” Then mail it to them (my mum did this for me once, and I loved it).
  11. Make someone feel welcome – send a text to your cousin’s new girlfriend saying you  like seeing him happy and can’t wait to get to know her, say hi to new neighbours, organise casual coffee or drinks so the new person at work gets to know everyone outside the office.
  12. Buy a six pack of beer for the construction workers you see every day to share on Friday afternoon (as long as there aren’t too many of them. Unless you’re happy to upgrade to a carton, in which case, yay you!)
  13. If you’re not usually the one to do it, cook or clean before your partner/housemate/family gets home.
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  14. Know someone who’s travelling to somewhere you’ve been before? Buy them a voucher to a cafe, restaurant or attraction that you loved when you were there.
  15. Compliment someone’s smile/clothes/hair – some may say it’s shallow, but it works.
  16. Talk to that older person you’ve sat next to on the bus.
  17. Help a mother lift her baby’s pram/stroller over a kerb or onto a step – don’t feel weird about getting so close to the baby, I’ve never once seen someone turn this help down.
  18. Write someone a thank you note for something they did a long time ago and let them know it left a lasting impression.
  19. Donate clothes or toiletries to a charity who will give them to someone who needs them – homeless, victims of domestic abuse, refugees etc.
  20. Pitch in so your colleague who has been stuck in the office late all week can get out a little earlier than expected.
  21. Stop and give directions to the lost-looking person with a map.
  22. Buy something from that stallholder at the markets who isn’t getting much interest. Chat to them about their products, buy something and if you like it, give them an awesome review on Facebook.
  23. Reach out to that Facebook “friend” who you seems to be having a rough time lately, even if you don’t know them that well.

Let me know if you set out to do any of them, or if you’ve got a few day-making secrets up your sleeves! Comment below or hit me up at fullofliving@gmail.com

Jessi sig

*after the recent talk I went to by Phoebe from Little Grey Box, I’ve also decided to write more naturally – this means I’ll still say “lovely” and “brilliant” a lot, but the f-bombs are coming – sorry in advance).

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Introducing the 2016 Bucket List

2016 BUCKET LIST

Hi guys!

I’m not entirely back on the blogging bandwagon (will be making my proper return very soon, promise), but I am temporarily coming out of the woodwork to share my ‘bucket list’ of things I want to achieve in 2016.

These lists have become a bit of a tradition for me. I’m one of those people who LOVES New Year’s Eve and the thought of starting fresh for a year, but have realised over time that when I decide I want to make a change in my life I generally just do it – no need to wait for January 1 or even a Monday – so even though I still make them, new year’s resolutions lost a bit of their shine, and this list took over, giving me adventures and achievements for the year to come (as long as I get off my ass and do them).

If you haven’t been following me long, you can click here to find out more about why I write a yearly bucket list. If you have, you will probably recognise that most of this year’s list has been recycled from 2015. I’d like to be able to say that the reason so much of my 2015 bucket list is making a reappearance is because I loved it all and want to do it again, but it’s actually because I achieved very little from the list.

As annoying as it is to know I set out to complete a list and didn’t even get halfway there, I’m actually pretty OK with it, as I still did a lot in 2015.

I didn’t climb Mount Warning, but I did climb to the top of Mount Vesuvius above Naples. I didn’t jump around any of the trampoline parks that popped up last year, but I did jump off a boat into the Aegean Sea off Santorini. I didn’t go to see a movie at the drive in, but I did see AC/DC in concert. I didn’t get anything from Etsy, but I did get a (slightly feral but very cute) cat. All of those things are much cooler. Plus, I did still tick a few things off the list, like ensuring I made it to GOMA at least once per season, and finding an excuse to dress up as Sailor Venus.

Anyhow, click here to see my slightly-recycled-but-also-sort-of-new 2016 bucket list, and stay tuned for updates on my progress. And please let me know if you’re working your way through something similar, I’d love to hear about it!

x J

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November Goals: Learning to Slow Down & Stop Multitasking

My multitasking burn out and learning to slow down in November

I know everyone says it on the first of every month, but seriously, I can’t believe it’s November. I feel like yesterday I was drinking sangria and freezing my ass off for my birthday, and now the jacarandas are almost finished blooming and I can start planning my Christmas baking!

It’s also the first time in a while that I’ve been excited about a new month. From September to mid-October I had a few weeks of serious burn out. I won’t go into it in detail, but I couldn’t sleep, my mind was fried, my skin was a mess and I imagine I was a fking nightmare to be around.  A lot of this came from my inability to switch off – whether at work, on public transport or at the gym, my habit of always doing five things at once had gotten out of control.

Eventually I snapped (shocker). So in a daze, I came home early, had a cup of tea, went to the gym, read on my Kindle and went to bed – and the next day I almost felt “normal” again. I’ve always kind of laughed about my short attention span and lack of interest in “relaxing,” incorporating it as part of my identity, which it still is. But when I felt so much better after just one evening of switching off, I’ve come to realise that it’s something I should be trying to work with (and sometimes against) rather than embracing.

Learning to switch off and single-task

SO my November goals largely come back to that burn-out – trying to make ongoing habits out of slowing the fuck down and paying attention to what’s going on around me, so that it doesn’t happen again! Being busy makes me happy, but I’m learning to be busy in ways that don’t involve doing several things (at least two involving screens) at once. Others are there just for fun.

NOVEMBER GOALS & CHALLENGES

1. Stick to my new evening routine
Now whenever I get home from work, before I do anything else I have to make a cup of tea, and write down five things that made me happy that day. I still feel a bit silly doing it, but it forces me to slow down and single-task – usually for the first time since waking up that day – in a way that makes me happy rather than resentful of slowing down 😛

2. Have a proper conversation with 3 new people every week
This was inspired by this article, which came along just when I needed it.

3. No more mindless TV-watching
There is nothing wrong with enjoying TV, but I wasn’t enjoying it. I got to the point where I thought I was “bored” if I didn’t also have the TV on in the background while I was blogging/emailing/cooking dinner. The reverse was also true – I couldn’t watch whichever show I had lined up unless I was also cleaning, stretching or playing a game on my phone. I’d then get to the end of 3 hours and have no idea what had happened. New rule – no more than two episodes at a time, and no other screens going.

4. Write at least one letter or postcard every weekend
I still have a massive pile of postcards left from my trip, and I also want to get back into #moreloveletters

5. Go to the drive in movies
I know this was on my 2015 bucket list already, but a new drive-in has just opened a little way down the road from me, so now’s the time!

6. ACTUALLY make a start on my Drawing with the Right Side of the Brain book
Because now it’s just getting ridiculous.

7. Use Pinterest more often
For Christmas baking to-do lists and general inspiration.

Do you have any goals for this month, or tips on overcoming multi-tasking addiction?

xx J

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31 Ways to Avoid Sunday Evening Regret

Colouring my new @omarabooks while talking to the fam. Lots of nostalgia, way too much fun and working wonders for my tiny attention span

It’s Friday, and I am most definitely not getting down. Instead I’m sitting on the couch, tapping away at my laptop while pasta boils on the stove, and am settling in for an awesome weekend of no plans. And when I say no plans, I don’t mean spontaneous, throw-a-dart-at-a-map-and-go-get-a-cocktail-whereever-it-lands-or-road-trip-to-the-beach no plans, I mean for the first weekend in months and months, I have no commitments and no obligation to leave the house, and I am SO EXCITED FOR THAT.

Unfortunately, I know myself a little too well, and actually doing nothing/binge-watching a few series on Netflix (as amazing as it sounds right now) won’t actually made me happy – I will arrive at 7pm Sunday full of regret.

Humans like to accomplish things, no matter how tiny – it makes us feel happy and fulfilled. Luckily for myself (and for you, if you’ve reached a similar point of near-burnout and sorta-not-really want to spend a weekend doing nothing), a lifetime of being both creative and slightly lazy means I am an expert in doing things that teeter on the edge between nothing and something.

Below is a list you can refer back to on no-plan weekends, of 31 things you can do on a lazy weekend at home (some while watching Netflix) to make sure you don’t hate yourself on Monday morning* – small things that don’t feel like a chore, are kinda fun and give you a teeny sense of achievement. You go Glen Coco.

  1. Start a diet/healthy-eating kick – it’s still just eating like you would on a weekend, but you can feel like you’re achieving something.
  2. Or go the complete opposite direction, bake a cake and eat the whole thing yourself.
  3. Just cook something – preferably something new that you have to use an actual recipe book with gorgeous photos for.
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  4. Do a massive jigsaw puzzle – maybe I’m weird, but there is something so satisfying about plonking a puzzle piece in its place.
  5. Bring back snail mail and write a letter to a friend or relative.
  6. or to a complete stranger.
  7. Do some colouring.
  8. Watch a classic movie that’s been on your to-watch list for a while
  9. Try your hand at the Countries of The World test and see how many you can name in 15 minutes (I scored 111 the first time).
  10. Do a new exercise routine from Youtube.
  11. Tidy and clean all the surfaces in your house – with cheesy music playing so you can still enjoy it.
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  12. Order takeout from somewhere new.
  13. Learn the cup song
  14. Practice doing your hair/makeup/nails.
  15. Go for a walk.
  16. List stuff you don’t want for sale online (check out what I’m selling off here #subtle)
  17. Read a fun self-help/motivational book like this one.
  18. Fix that thing on your blog that’s been bothering you.
  19. Schedule a week’s worth of tweets.
  20. Download Duolingo and start learning.
  21. Call someone you haven’t spoke to in a while.
  22. Clean out your “fuck it” drawer/box/shelf. If you have one, you know what it is. If you don’t, I salute you.
  23. Delete apps you don’t use, or unsubscribe from 5 email newsletters you never open anymore.
  24. Go for a leisurely trip to somewhere that does good coffee (but only good coffee – ain’t nobody got time to leave the house for Starbucks).
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  25. Go through the photos on your phone or computer and order some prints – bring back actual “albums.”
  26. Stretch.
  27. Exfoliate.
  28. Self-tan.
  29. Clean the old receipts out of your wallet/purse/handbag.
  30. Try to teach your pet a new trick (or just to stay off the damn kitchen benches).
  31. Resist the urge to stay up late and try to reset your body clock.

*This doesn’t work if you do ALL of them. Then you’d still hate yourself

What’s on your agenda for the two days off? Let me know so I can live vicariously through you while I do my nails in front of Audrey Hepburn movies.

Jessi sig

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Santorini in Too-Few Hours

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I’mma be upfront with you all.

You know all of those beautiful cliff-top images of white washed walls and blue domes that we all expect from Santorini? Yep, none of that here. We didn’t make it to the village of Oia – pretty much a traveller’s sin, if the guide books are to be believed.

BUT GUESS WHAT! You can still find stunning views, cute stray cats, overpriced glasses of wine and opportunities to take awesome photos of yourself looking out over a cliff (i.e. have an awesome time) all over the island. Read on for photographic evidence of this, as well as a few of our volcano-hiking, sunset-viewing, donkey-dodging adventures in our 8 short hours on Santorini.

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Trust in Humanity Tuesday #12

#trustinhumanityTuesday is a regular series which brings you the best feel-good moments to be found across the internet. Want to find out the back story (and why it happens on Tuesday)? Click here.

Image: Sarah Yockey via Today.com
Image: Sarah Yockey via Today.com

It’s been a while since my last Trust in Humanity Tuesday post, but today I’m back with your weekly dose of not-everyone-is-a-total-dick positivity! Here are a few wonderful things that caught my eye since the last post instalment:

  1. The little girl who spent her allowance on ice cream for state troopers who had just farewelled a colleague.
  2. The store I stumbled on in a bad area of my city that put their leftover food out the front for those in need to take for free (I know they’re not the first to do it, but seeing it in person makes me happy).
  3. The 5-year-old boys who planned a great escape, dug their way out of their kindergarten and tried to buy a Jaguar – way to follow your dreams, kids.
  4. The Maccas employee in Chicago who not only shut down his register during peak hour to help an elderly customer, but had the sensitivity to go around the corner and give the man some privacy.
  5. The legends at a zoo in china who gave a bullied baby monkey his own guard dog (admittedly this happened in 2008, but I only just found out about it, and believe they’ve made the world a better place by allowing that photo to exist)

Did any random acts of kindness make you feel better about the world this month? I’d love to hear about it!

Jessi sig

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Photo Diary: Rome

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And here it is, the first instalment from my recent getaway!

My time in Rome was really special for two reasons:

  1. I hadn’t mentioned it on the blog, but B had been working overseas, so we met over there after 5 months apart. Going on adventures with your favourite person is always amazing, but the reunion added to it, and there was something romantic (if cheesy) about being able to say “I’ll see you in Rome” and then meeting up on a cobblestone street.
  2. Until B arrived, it was my first time travelling alone overseas, and I loved exploring and wandering at my own pace. Even if the first day I was stupid enough to head straight out from the airport in jeans – no one told me Rome would be so hot!

We weren’t in the eternal city for very long (and we didn’t lug around the camera, so excuse the image quality – the rest of the trip was done properly!) but I did learn to always dodge ladies with budgies, that badly speaking Italian will still get you extra gelato just for trying, and that I have an impeccable knack for travelling to attractions when they’re under maintenance. I’d also like to note that these photos make it look like B didn’t change his shirt but I promise he did!

Below are some images of the incredible Piazza Venezia, failed selfies, Colosseum, a big ass seagull, Roman Forum, food and other loveliness, and below those are some quick details on what we saw, where we stayed, the food we stumbled on and more.

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Life Lately – My Month MIA

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So apparently today is exactly a month since my last post – whoops!

It’s not that I’ve had nothing to say – more that I’ve had a million things I’ve wanted to say, but every time I try to type or write something out, I either mental blank, or get sidetracked and write 1000 words no one wants to read.

Maybe I’ll gradually make it back to the long list of drafts I have on the go, but in the meantime, the only way I was going to get anything out was a good old “Life Lately” brain dump. So here’s what’s been happening since my last post!

We've temporarily said goodbye to the eternal city and are now somewhere in the Mediterranean aboard the @celebritycruises Reflection - ship internet is very exxy so you may not hear from me very often, but I've just found out i have an extra day in Athens, so please hit me with suggestions!        Sorry I dropped off the radar for a while lovelies! I haven't been taking many photos on my phone because my wonderful boyfriend (don't tell him I called him that ) bought me this gorgeous Sony RX100 III when we were in Athens. Currently at a cafe in Rhodes (hence the frilly tablecloth!) but I'll share some shots from my last few days in Athens and Kusadasi soon!

1.I’ve been overseas! If you follow me on Instagram you might have noticed I spent two too-short weeks trotting my pale Australian self around Italy, Greece and Turkey. This could be a few months worth of posts on its own (and a couple are definitely in the works), but for now I’d just like to say UGHHH TAKE ME BACK.

2. I got a new camera! B bought it for me while we were in Athens (OK, B mostly bought it for himself, but he already had a DSLR so it may as well be mine). It’s a Sony RX100 M3, I’m in love with it, and you can (hopefully) expect my blog quality to improve over the next few months.

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Guess which is me?

3. I got super nostalgic, as yesterday was 4 years since my high school graduation.

4. I’ve joined the party a few years later and become addicted to Entourage.

5. I’ve started selling my old clothes online for the first time – listing my Black Milk felt like selling my 2012 self.

6. I lost the plot momentarily. As I’ve vaguely mentioned before, I work in marketing for the hospitality industry, and once August hits you’re looking at a 6 month blur of posters and social media campaign for Melbourne Cup, Christmas parties, actual Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Australia Day, that only finishes in February when Valentines Day is done and dusted. Combine all this with being behind because you missed the first two weeks of it while on holiday – not good! This post by Carly at Smaggle just about sums up how the last 10 days have gone for me – luckily I snapped out of it yesterday with a gym session and long sleep.

7. I’ve started house hunting again – B and I are on the move! In a couple of months we’ll be clearing out of our first ever apartment together, and into something that isn’t such a ridiculous drain on our finances.

Today's adventure: hiking to the top of Mount Vesuvius, high above Naples. Also, pizza. Lots of pizza.    Selling a few things in my wardrobe, and getting a bit nostalgic - I feel like I'm selling my 2012 self!

8. I’m feeling much healthier and happier in the last month or so, so 2015 Resolution #1 is well on track. I still miss boot camp and group fitness, but yay for not being even a little bit self-conscious in the gym anymore! I’ve also gone back to reading more often, so Item #1 on my 2015 bucket list (very different things, promise) is picking up.

I’ll have my travel posts up very soon, but in the meantime I’d love to know what else I’ve missed! Leave me a link to your favourite post from the last month and I’ll check it out!

Jessi sig

 

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9 Things No One Told Me About Apartment Life

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Today marks two years of living in our apartment.

Because I was moving in with Brandon and everyone saw it as somewhat more permanent than the revolving door of units, flatmates and vodka I’d lived in since moving to Brisbane for uni, I was given a lot of warnings and questions about continued apartment life:

“But what if you want a dog?”
“Will you have enough space?”
“You know, you could get an entire three bedroom house for less rent…”

I was prepared for the disproportionate pricing, the lack of space, and the wanting a pet thing (pet-friendly apartment = sorted), but there was a lot that no one told me about the realities of moving into a “real” apartment complex, with normal adults going about their business, rather than students on a 52 week bender (I lived in Urbanest for a year once. Most surreal 12 months of my life)

So if you’re about to embark on apartment life (or a house-dweller wondering how the rest of us live), here are some of the highlights and downsides to living in large complexes – don’t say no one warned you.

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