Our little love club: Little Dot (renamed Dorothy), Graba, and Lt. Dan. Only Graba made it to the end of 2016.

I typically end the year by answering the same year-end survey, but this year I’m too lazy to dig it up. I also forgot to pay my rent and overlooked a few other things; like today, I missed a meeting, but that wasn’t entirely my fault since the person who set it sent me the wrong date. So I guess 2016 really did a massive number on us. Remember when we were all bitching about 2009? I got really fat in 2009, but that’s beside the point (which I also have yet to make).

What I’m after here is maybe changing the questions we ask ourselves, year after year, especially when it comes to what we want, what we are becoming, and how we are to live.

This year, I realized having too many cats derails you from living your own life. However, this isn’t even a question of quantity, but of one cat feeling like too many cats. 2016 was, no doubt, the year of Little Dot – I spent most of this year feeling like I could and should save her, and taking the emotional and financial hits for it. We–her vets, her reiki healer, my partner, and I–somehow extended her life by another 5 months. She passed away in October, in the care of my boyfriend and the good people at The Pet Project in San Juan, while I was in Texas, visiting my sister.

And while I will always love and miss her, the capacity to care that came out of that loss also revealed so much about my relationships, as well as the possibility of relating to people through animals. I have a boyfriend now (not entirely because of the cats), and because he is a wonderful human being, in that time of need he showed how much he is able to give, in loving what I love. In all those months of caring for Little Dot, I never once heard Javier say that she’s “just a cat” or make any suggestions about letting nature take its course.

In September, we began nesting, cohabitation…basically he moved in. His verbal crutch is adding “basically” to everything, even if it’s not basic or basicalized in the process. I had some basic ideas of the number that cohabitation does on any relationship, and basically you show everything. Especially if you live in a studio.

So even if we’ve only been dating for a year (as of this month) and living together since September…_BASICALLY_, what I’m trying to say is that it’s nice to be known this well by anyone.

And as I should know by now, I’m still not that comfortable talking about what intimate, romantic relationships mean to me. At least not online. Maybe in some kind of support group with people who share this discomfort? Maybe I (no, definitely, I) have some unresolved issues given the past relationships I dragged myself and other people into? What I am sure of though is that I’m with someone with whom I can unpack all that baggage; I am, after all, with someone who’s willing to live with me. Also, it’s really convenient, since he hails from the deep south. (Re, the south: I still hate the south. Yuck. Gross. Burn that shit down. Set fire to every toll gate. Save us all from this blight on urban planning.)

Once you make these kinds of changes–like, living with your boyfriend of less than a year–the resolutions become an inevitability. I resolve to make space for another adult human being in my life. This adult human being does not need to tolerate me, since he is in no way bound to me by blood, nor does he possess any responsibility for my existence. If we run out of toilet paper, I either have to run out and buy toilet paper instead of scrounging around through the bottom of my purse for Krispy Kreme napkins, or politely ask him to pick up some toilet paper. If we are to grow up into fully-realized human beings, we need to do this together, respectfully, honestly, with love and occasional heartache.

And these things are a lot to take on for 2017.

I also resolved to adopt fewer cats and spend more time at the shelter, mostly with the cats at the Sick Bay. I now know them all by name and they recognize my scent (which is basically the scent of other cats, but whatever).

2017 will be okay.