How To Move On From Your Lifelong Dream Of Hugging A Humpback Whale

We’ve all dreamt it: a fully mutual embrace between you and a humpback whale. Not a blue whale, not an orca; a humpback whale. A hug that says, “Everything’s going to be okay, little one.” The waves crashing above, the whale offers a moment of calm quiet: a gentle squeeze in its 14-foot pectoral fins.


A big part of growing up is realizing that sometimes, our dreams just cannot be. Including your dream of hugging a 50-ton endangered marine mammal who probably wants nothing to do with you, a mere human. Here are some simple tips for letting go of this childhood dream you hold so close.


Admit that hugging a humpback whale is impossible.

You are simply too small to hug a 50-foot humpback whale. Even if you are the biggest human on Earth (and if so—hi 8’3” Sultan Kösen of Turkey!!!) you are too small to hug a humpback whale. You could stretch your arms wide and sort of press your body against a humpback whale, assuming you’re scuba certified. But that’s not really a hug, is it? That’s just a weird body press and probably violates many articles of the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Plus, the whale will likely not hug you back; a hug is only a hug when mutual.


Be realistic.

You get desperate. You think, “As a human I will never hug a humpback whale—but what if I become a humpback whale? Then I can use my 14-foot pectoral fins to hug another whale!” This is impossible. Remind yourself that you are not an Animorph and you will never turn into any kind of whale. Say the words aloud. Look in the mirror as you say, “I will never be a humpback whale and I will never be wrapped in any baleen whale’s warm, loving embrace.” It feels like a harpoon to the heart, we know. But it gets a little easier each time you say it.


Let others know you’ve moved on.

Your friends can hold you accountable like no other! Let them know you’re going through this emotionally trying time. When people ask you about your dreams and aspirations, you stop saying, “To hold and be held by a humpback whale.” Instead, you give a brave face and say, “I’m still figuring it out.” Your friends will understand. And if they don’t, well, they aren’t your real friends, are they?




Choose another animal to hug.

A big part of moving on from your lifelong dreams is setting reasonable, attainable goals. In this case, set your goals on a more moderately-sized mammal to embrace. Perhaps a large dog. Or a Harbor Seal. At first, the thought may feel like personal betrayal—neither a dog nor a sea dog will bring me the warmth and satisfaction a humpback whale would. But trust us and give a new fantasy a whirl: imagine walking home on a chilly autumn night, the crisp air cutting at your bare hands—Man, I wish I had gloves, you think. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, a Great Dane named Dennis approaches you. Is this really happening? You kneel down to greet Dennis, and he slaps his baseball glove paws on your shoulders. You gently embrace. And everything is good.


Hug yourself

Just remember: you are worthwhile. Just because a humpback whale will never gingerly hold you between bubble netting sessions, mouth packed with krill and herring, doesn’t mean you’re not of value. You are probably of value to humans, though if you have spent this much time and emotional energy fantasizing about humpback whales, maybe you have some room to improve in the human relations department.


It’s in our darkest, most hopeless moments that we learn who we truly are. A marine biologist once said that. He was talking about Anglerfish, but it still applies here. Only by meditating on your wants, needs and desires will you ever wrap your arms around any medium to large animal. And you deserve that happiness.