Eight Hugs

Back in the day, I used to be part of a work team that was closer than closest can be. We went to each other’s weddings, we disagreed (with passion), we rode trains, planes and automobiles together, we acted like clowns, we saw success again and again…we had a good thing going. We were a family. I loved it.

And then I left.


I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Why in the world did I leave if all was good? My hypothesis: Because staying meant I’d need to sit with the discomfort of getting even closer to them. I was like a fugitive from my feelings. The team felt like a family to me and I didn’t know what to do with that. What if they found out that I’m not perfect? What if they knew I had fears? What if they found out I didn’t *actually* know everything? What if they left? Or maybe it was as simple as I just had other plans for myself. Who knows.

Don’t worry, this isn’t a psychotherapy site so we aren’t going to sit here and analyze all that. It’s a “yes” place. And I’ve gotta give props (yes, I said “props” and yes, I was born in the 80s) to this journey, which has forced me to face my fears and do things that I wouldn’t normally do. No hiding. Here I am. This is my pain. Here are my scaries. Here are my mistakes. This is my happy. This is Fi.

This past weekend, I spent a good amount of time with this dream team. We cried, we hugged and we laughed as we stood side by side and said farewell to a member of our family. It was a hard thing we were doing–saying goodbye. Even so, I was overcome with all the warm fuzzies. I smiled more than I thought I would. I missed this crew and even though we’ve all scattered about the country, it felt like we had snapped back into old times. And I so badly wanted to rewind to the time I left and stay instead. Look, look. I can stay now. See? I can do it.

Let me be cliché for a hot second: Everything happens for a reason. My leaving. All the changes throughout the years. Our coming together. Their reminding me of the person I used to be; and my reminding myself of the person I am now. I’ve come a long way. So I’m not going to allow myself to regret any of it.

Ok, so now what? Here’s what.

I’ve learned/realized/gleaned/remembered:

  • We’re a tribal species. We need people. We can’t go it alone and still be our best.
  • Invest in your relationships because that is the only way lasting, meaningful relationships can be built. Ask questions. Listen. Be available. Make an effort. And repeat.
  • If you want to reach out to someone, whether it’s been months, years, days, whatever, do it. Say hi. Say you’re sorry. Ask what’s up. I’ve had a good amount of old friends do this with me these past couple of years and it makes me giddy every time. I’m going to be like them and do that more.
  • Don’t lose touch with people who are important to you. It takes a second, a coffee, a quick call–we all have the time. Seriously, we do.
  • Hang out in the discomfort. Sit with it. Explore it. Let it teach you. Don’t run. It makes a huge difference. Then, when the weird feelings have left the building, decide your next move.
  • Embrace the hug. I can be awkward with hugging at times. Do I? Don’t I? How long? Weird?But it actually feels really good when you squeeze super tight and hang on for a bit. Not too long…don’t be creepy. Bonus: Hugs are known to lower blood pressure and amp up those serotonin levels (which create happiness). Fun Fact: Did you know that the universal recommendation for a happy, healthy existence is to give eight hugs a day? I’m at about a zero to maybe one.

All that to say, I’m going to do a better job at saying “yes” to stronger, closer, forever relationships. I’m done with being in situations where I wished I would have been around more, asked more questions, stayed in touch…invested. Sure, it freaks me out to think of putting myself out there. But no better time than now, right? YES.

Dare me to give eight hugs every day for a week? Heh, heh. That wouldn’t be weird at all. Though, I am saying “yes” so GET READY…

…to visit me in jail for inappropriate behavior.




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