I write here with expectations about the common hug, a signal part of many greetings and partings. By these words I want to encourage other senior citizens to think of your hugging as a special gift especially you can offer to others.
First this observation: Many of us who are up in years may not get hugged all that much. Our natural hugging partners—family, dear friends—may not be close at hand any more. On account of the misperception that we are less-attractive—and thus less embraceable–some people around us may find it unpleasant to hug us. Others may harbor a secret worry that they could harm us physically by squeezing us too hard.
All these presumptions may be false, especially in a world where loving touch—the physical basis of an embrace—may be less available to many people. I’m pretty sure that some folks avoid hugs because they could also be a kind of bad touch.
How about this idea? At our stage in life, we older adults could become the vanguard of a revival of helpful hugging. Most of us are considered to be safe, matured past using hugs for the wrong reasons. Many of us have the extra padding that makes our hugs more like soft cuddles than painful squeezes. Our personalities may also exude a sense of comfort or acceptance—making our hugs a kind of tactile proof of reassurance or encouragement.
I’m not talking about the usual perfunctory and short-lived clasping of others. I’m thinking that our hugs could be valued because they lasted longer, conveyed positive emotions and gave hug-receivers—at whatever age—the benefits of being touched by someone other than their doctors!
If you accept this challenge, I would be so happy that I could just…. hug you!