Tonight, right before she went to bed, I asked my roommate for a hug.
That sounded strange, didn't it? The thing is, I'm realizing more and more that one of the biggest things I miss about college and being 45 minutes away from family is the physical human contact. In high school and college, I was super affectionate with my friends and I took it completely for granted. I don't know if it's the fact that I've become a little hardened from living in the city or because I have this notion that adults just don't hug willy-nilly whoever, but now hugging and touching the people I love is not part of my daily life.
I realized that tonight as I (sheepishly) asked my roommate, who is also one of my best friends, for a hug and she said, "Of course! Are you OK?" While I appreciated the hug and her concern, it dawned on me that when needing a hug only indicates that someone is hurting, there's a problem.
The thing is, I come from a pretty touchy-feely family and adore human contact. But tonight, not only was I appalled that I felt silly for asking for a hug from one of my best friends, but I was shocked that I couldn't recall the last embrace I'd had. I ran into a friend on the street on my way to the gym downtown a while ago and when we parted ways, I gave her the biggest hug ever. And before then it may have been when I saw friends at a bar for St. Patty's. And before that it was when my sister visited in mid-February. Guys, I'm averaging less than one hug per week. Sad, isn't it?
Anyway, I think maybe I should try to change this. Maybe that's part of why I've really felt down and not quite myself in Chicago yet. Not only am I losing touch with who I am, but I'm losing touch in general in a very literal way. In fact, hugging has become such a rarity that I've occasionally come close to bursting into tears from a quick squeeze from a good friend. (crazy woman alert) I've never been excessively emotional, but this little act overwhelms me, like someone is throwing me a life preserver and reminding me of who I am and that people are pretty wonderful. You didn't know the topic of hugging could be so philosophical, did you?
As silly as it might seem, I may have to start requesting hugs from my friends. I have plenty of people that I know here, so that's not the issue. It's that I shy away and remain aloof when everyone is hugging in big groups. And on top of that, I forgot how integral it is to who I am as a person and to my satisfaction with life. Hugs should be natural, yes, but I think I'm out of practice, so I'll just have to ask. I read a study somewhere (correct me if I'm wrong) that humans need something like seven hugs per day to maintain a happy lifestyle. So maybe I should make that my number one goal for the month of April (or start now so I can stop being a Debbie Downer ASAP)-- get a hug everyday and work my way up from there.
What do you guys think? How important is physical contact and hugging to you and your happiness quotient?