Along with the cheesy cards, oversized stuffed animals, pink pallets and paper hearts of Valentine’s Day, comes the opportunity to celebrate love in all forms. Yes, Valentine’s Day is typically centered on romantic love, but why limit it? Single or not, there’s plenty of platonic love to go around.
Over the past few years, I’ve taken to celebrating “Galetines Day,” where I get a group of my closest female friends together to celebrate without the thought of boyfriends or girlfriends on our minds. While a nice concept, why limit it to just my female friends? I’d much rather spend a day celebrating with friends than liking memes about relationship woes on Instagram.
We’ve all been through a lot in the past years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the world changing rapidly around us, many have relied on friends more than ever. Even if we lost some friendships and made some new ones, no one has been able to get through this pandemic alone.
The pandemic began when I was 19 years old. I am now 22. When we found out that we would not be returning for the remainder of the semester during spring break in 2020, I was devastated. Even with an extra week of break, I had a hard time processing the sudden shift. It meant that I may not see my friends, who were graduating seniors or who were transferring schools, ever again.
As the first months of the pandemic drew on, I spent an increasing amount of time on Messenger, a Facebook messaging app and Discord, a phone and laptop app that can host multiple people on one call. Even if I was just cleaning my room or putting away the dishes, I would hop on a Discord call to pass the time. Eventually, the semester drew to a close and summer dawned.
The world remained in stasis and so did I. Although I worked, there was excess time to kill that summer. My friends were one of the few escapes I had.
Gathering with my friends on Discord created a much-needed facade of structure in my life. I often began and ended my day on Discord, checking in with friends from school, from my neighborhood or even from the West coast. Even if I got back from a long shift, I would pop into the Discord call to touch base.
I spent many late nights nestled on my couch, playing my brother’s PlayStation4 and talking on Discord. While I’ve always been a night owl, those hours were the best part of my day. No one else was around, my job was done for the day, and we could forget the state of the world for a bit.
We talked about the pandemic, about family drama, our pets, our newest pandemic fueled hobby and what we were eating for dinner. Lending a virtual ear, we supported one another.
Even when the world opened up again and I went back to school in the fall, I stuck to my routine of connection. It became and still is essential to my life and well-being. So this Valentine’s Day, my love goes out to all of my friends. The people who stay by my side and are willing to put up with me – they mean so much to me.
There should be no shame in platonic love. If there’s one thing life has made clear to me its that family is never limited by blood. Your found family is just as valid and important as those you are related to.
Tradition and normalcy have flown out the window at this point of the pandemic, so I say why not let your friends know you love them this Valentine’s Day.
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