I believe in the power of kindness, so I give hugs. Physically connecting with another person is important. I give hugs to people I know, and to people I meet. I’ve had people, especially our older population, break down sobbing because they couldn’t remember the last time they had a hug. It makes me feel good, but it often makes others feel even better.
Hugs create a different environment. It allows people to open up and share what’s on their minds. Talking is good. Listening is even better. I like to listen.
COVID changed things. People are less comfortable receiving hugs. I’ve been less comfortable giving them. So, I have been happy that COVID numbers had been improving. I was just starting to stop wearing masks in some public places, and was starting to give physical hugs again.
But COVID numbers are increasing again. Most states, other than Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, are seeing significant increases in their cases. I suspect NH is not far behind the rest of the country. And with monkeypox showing increasing numbers and a rapid rate of variants, we may now be seeing the emergence of another pandemic.
It’s time to put the masks back on, and stop the hugs. For now.
I still am willing to listen. I still care. Please consider this a virtual hug.