With building renovations have come months of time spent lying on not our couches, mincing garlic on not our cutting boards, watching the television preferences of not our preferences. We’ve been fortunate enough to snag residence with both Michael’s parents and my parents, as well as a coveted spot in our friend’s Bond Street bachelor pad while he flew his fine bachelor self down to Florida (timed suspiciously with early morning pile driving across the street). There was also an airbnb in Miami. My moods have run the gamut from cheery and content to mellow and distressed to cross and irate about life in all these places. (The airbnb could have used a basket of toiletries, but it was otherwise lovely.) We have lived with others, or amongst others’ things, for the last 8 months and when you live like this you can’t help but observe (or judge) the ways in which everyone else is living. But while I’ve done my fair share of complaining, be it an uncomfortable bed, a lack of privacy, or missing a certain kitchen accouterment, I’ve also taken silent note of those rare things I have liked and appreciated. In a way, we’ve been living not our real lives but the lives of others. We’ve adjusted our preferences to the likes, habits, and routines of everyone else, and now we can tell you what makes them snap, crackle, and pop. We know how they like their thermostat (68 at all times, so please don’t change it), how they like to cook (with an old, faded magazine tear-out set on the counter with some country music playing), how they like to clean (rinsed thoroughly before set in the dishwasher, please), and how they like to get ready for bed (one last piece of dark chocolate in the dim of the kitchen). Witnessing firsthand how others live forces me to reflect on the way in which I have lived in the past and how I see myself beginning to live in the future. A new life that finally feels close. I am easily inspired by others’ styles, schedules, decorative measures, and general ways to be that I see in these magazine tear-outs that are other people’s lives, but I know that in the end, our own tear-out will soon be making its way into the fold. And my moods will run the gamut there as well.