This I Believe

Brent - State College, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 20, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family
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“The best part of life is when your family becomes your friends, and your friends become your family.” -Danica Whitfield

Over the past four years, I’ve realized the importance of family and friendship. As we proceed through the rollercoaster that is life, I find myself wondering several things: What is the big picture? What is most important in my life? Is it owning a luxurious automobile or beach-front property? Is it being successful professionally? After only 22 years, I feel I’ve developed an understanding of the, “big picture.” I’ve come to this realization through an experience, which altered my outlook on what is truly important in life.

A few years ago my siblings and I were faced with the unfortunate news that our parents were separating after almost 18 years of marriage. My brother, sisters, and grandparents quickly became the only individuals for whom I could confide in, and talk about the hardship our family was facing. In a family where most of our feelings were kept to ourselves, the divorce drastically changed our relationships. In the process they ultimately became similar to friends, as we exchanged words of inspiration to help one another.

When faced with this adversity, six of my close friends in high school aided me in finding hope during the divorce. It was an unbelievable feeling to have my friends continually offer words of encouragement and lift my spirits. I know they had their own problems and conflicts, but went out of their way to help me through these troubled times. They eventually felt like part of my extended family for whom I could trust and depend on. Our relationships continue to grow stronger each day, as we confront the challenges of the future together.

However, college has undoubtedly tested the strength of my relationships with family and friends. Keeping in touch becomes more difficult as everyone progresses through their careers. But through all the chaos of everyday life, I’ve managed to maintain these relationships. Hardships, memories, and the optimistic outlook to the future have bonded us together, and will ultimately conquer the test of time. I’ve realized that I have to cherish the moments I have with family and friends nowadays. Life is so short, and I have to put into perspective what is most important in the end.

Acquiring certain material possessions and retaining the same quality-of-life as I’ve had my entire 22 years are important, and definitely goals I will strive for throughout my life. But nothing is of more value to me than the companionship of family and friends. These relationships have shaped my personality, and who I am today. Through these relationships I’ve created memories, built trust and loyalty, shared my deepest fears, developed morals and values, consoled others through bad times, and rejoiced in success. That’s why I believe the most important aspect of life is the companionship of family and friends.