“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.” ~Osho

“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.” ~Erich Fromm

It’s the third day of a new year and I’m writing this from what is soon to be my new home office. In what is now essentially my new home. While the man with whom I first exchanged “I love you’s” almost exactly one year ago sleeps in the room across the hall.

Earlier this week, we purchased a new dresser to make space for my clothes in his (soon to also be my) bedroom.

And we managed to assemble it in about two hours in pretty much complete harmony.

Yesterday, we stained said dresser in equally harmonious fashion (hashtag winning, you guys) so that I can tuck away the clothes I have been gradually accumulating at the boyfriend’s house throughout the past few months.

Last Saturday, we moved my sweet, adorable cat out of my apartment and into my future office space, which has been her sanctuary for the past eight-ish days. Today, we will attempt to introduce her to the two resident felines who have been occupying the house for the past several years.

(Yes, I fell in love with a man who is the proud parent of two cats. Which means blending our families has resulted in a three-cat household. I know.)

Over the next few weeks, I will sort through my belongings in the apartment I have inhabited on my own for the past three and half years, decide what to keep, what to donate, what to sell, and what to toss, and slowly move the rest of my things into my new home across town.

This will essentially seal the cohabitation deal over here.

To say that I have mixed emotions about all of this is to completely understate the reality of things.

Why? Because I’ve lived alone for the better part of the past six years.

Living alone has been my jam. It’s familiar and predictable. It allows me to rely on me and only me, to only ask for help when I get really desperate, to hide away with my emotions and pretend I’ve got it all figured out (which I don’t), to more easily skirt vulnerability, and to act like complete and total self-reliance is not only possible (hint:  it’s not) but also admirable somehow.

And so I’m nervous about this upcoming move. Because it means making my day-to-day life more accessible to another human.

It means putting my idiosyncrasies on even more prominent display for this man I love, letting him see the weirdness and the messiness (literal and figurative) and the sometimes chaos in which I mostly exist.

(Although, admittedly, he’s seen a lot of this already.)

There have been moments throughout this transitional period when I have wanted to run away, retreat to my apartment and shield myself from the changes taking place.

Because change? I kind of suck at it.

But, ultimately, my comfort zone — namely, that of living alone and being alone and thinking I have to do everything on my own — is not really all that comfortable anymore.

So, I’m gonna take my own advice and embrace the things that scare me.

Like living with a boy. And believing that he’ll still love me even after I show up at his house with my millions of books and eight hundred scarves, asking where he wants me to keep them.

If I could sum up 2015, I would describe it as a crash course in vulnerability. A huge part of which was learning how to receive and let myself be loved.

And while this is an ongoing lesson for me, I feel like I’m gradually getting a much better handle on how to accept the love that keeps being offered to me. From multiple sources. Often unexpectedly.

And in spite — or even because — of how imperfect I am.

When I assess the past year of my life, I feel proud of the progress I’ve made in this regard. It’s been challenging and frustrating and just so effing uncomfortable, but also the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.

And so, as I consider the year ahead, I wonder:  When I get to the end of 2016, how do I want to feel?

I want to feel like I created some cool shit. I want to feel like I contributed something beautiful to the world.

And I want to feel like it was all a giant collaborative effort.

Which is why I’m choosing to no longer be afraid of my upcoming move.

If I want this year to be about CREATING and COLLABORATING and making BEAUTIFUL things (I do), then this change is the perfect place to start.

Because co-creating a healthy, thriving relationship and building a new home with a man I absolutely adore can only contribute to this on a broader scale, right?

That’s what I’m hoping for anyway.

As usual, I’ve lost the point. But what I’m trying to say is this:

The world needs more people who are optimized in their capacities to create.

It needs more cooperation and collaboration.

And it definitely needs more connection.

Individuals who feel connected. To each other and to something bigger than their tiny, self-contained internal realities.

I happen to believe that beauty and art and creative pursuits are not superfluous tools in our efforts to manifest these things in our world.

I happen to believe they are essential.

In all my personal work around vulnerability this past year, I have learned the following lessons repeatedly (and sometimes begrudgingly):

1. Letting yourself be loved is one of the most vulnerable (and, therefore, brave) things you can do.

2. Vulnerability and creativity are forever and invariably inseparable. That’s just how it is.

3. Creativity is always collaborative.

4. Collaboration feeds and strengthens connection.

5. And connection is why any of us are here at all.

So, here’s to another year. To being adventurous and vulnerable. To letting ourselves be seen and loved.

And to co-creating a world that is healthier and more joyful and more deeply connected.

If these three cats can find a way to live in harmony, anything is possible.