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When you’re in love, Valentine’s Day is the perfect holiday, providing a great opportunity to go out to dinner, hug, kiss and cuddle with that special person in your life.  Even if you had a fight the night before, all is forgiven and love is gloriously renewed on Valentine’s Day.

If you’re alone, however, Valentine’s can be the most miserable day of the year.  With all the cards, flowers, chocolate and constant reminders of romance, it can seem like everyone in the world is in love except you.

This doesn’t have to be the case.

At age 13, I met my best friend Julia, who was a year older than I.  Neither of us can remember the exact day we met.  However, we both agree it happened sometime around Valentine’s Day, since all the other girls were preparing for the occasion while we didn’t have boyfriends.

Although we hit it off right away, neither Julia nor I had any inkling that we were embarking on a lifelong journey.  Early on, we saw each other through all the traumas that every teenage girl experiences—boyfriends who broke our hearts, teachers who were mean or unfair, endless fights with parents and family members.  As we blossomed into young adults, these were followed by disappointments in college, serious relationships while trying to climb our way up the professional ladder.  

Julia was there when I got married, she was there when I delivered my children, she was there holding my hand through a horrific divorce.  She watched me remarry and set about raising my kids, while I watched her go through her own trials and tribulations.  No matter what life threw our way, we shared all of it together and did our best to help each other stay sane, healthy and happy.

Every Valentine’s Day, regardless of where we were, Julia and I celebrated our anniversary.  And I mean celebrated!  Dinners, flowers, cards, presents—we did it all because we considered our Valentines more special then any other couple.   Currently, our friendship stands at 28 years and counting.  In today’s crazy world, not many can attest to such an accomplishment.

What has kept us together for so long?

Interestingly, Julia and I are different as night and day, and people were always amazed at how well we got along.  What they didn’t see was that our bond is based on values, beliefs, and the instincts that always told us the right from wrong and kept us out of trouble.   Lucky for me, Julia was always more patient, non-judgmental and caring.  She loved me for being just “me.”  I never had to pretend to be somebody else, and she always stood by me, providing her support and wisdom when I needed it most.  

As I look back at almost three decades together, I view our friendship as a huge accomplishment, one that belongs to us and to our parents.  After all, it was our parents who instilled in us the value of friendship and the rewards that it brings.

My darling Julia will always be my soul mate.  I will always love her and I will always be grateful for that special day called Valentines so many years ago, when she and I became best friends.

So if you‘re not currently in a romantic relationship, don’t feel left out.  Take the time to appreciate and celebrate the friendships you have developed, and you too can enjoy this wonderful holiday.

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