This I Believe

Marcial - Schaumburg, Illinois
Entered on May 3, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe in supporting the ideas of your friends. When my best friend told me he was going to drop out of college, I thought he was going to make the biggest mistake of his life. I wanted to scream at him and tell him he was wasting his talent. Despite my anger, I supported my friend’s need to create his own path. I have been his friend for 14 years and although his decision was contrary to my own, I understood that he and I would not always have the same ideas on what’s best for our lives. He and I were different and I’ve learned to accept this fact as part of what made our relationship stronger rather than what drove us apart.

Later on, my friend told me that he was going to pursue a career as a spiritual healer or a shaman. I told him it that sounded like a great idea and wished him success, but secretly I hoped he was joking and that he would soon wake up from his delusions. However, I held my tongue because I knew he was doing what he needed to do. I understood that accounting, engineering, and teaching weren’t the only jobs out there in the world. I understood that even the most unconventional jobs served a purpose in society. I understood that his choice in career was not my own and I learned to respect his way of life.

A year later, my friend told me he was becoming a vegan and encouraged me to do the same because eating meat was an immoral and unhealthy act. Although my mouth said, “I’d think about it,” my stomach growled, “no way.” I personally could not give up my Filet Mignon or my Oberweis Ice Cream, but I understood that he was only expressing his concern for my wellbeing and wanted to share his new perception of the world with me. I understood that there were many others in the world who chose this lifestyle and led perfectly happy lives.

No more than a month ago, my friend told me his philosophy on the crystal people and how in the future we will be able to bend spoons with our minds and look beyond the confines of the physical world and focus on the spiritual one. I argued with my friend on this point, but in the end I didn’t call him crazy and I didn’t have him committed to a psychiatric ward. I remained loyal and supported him in his endeavors because I was his friend and had been his friend for 14 years. We’ve grown up together, experienced life together, and become stronger by sticking together. Although it was hard for me to accept his ideas, I knew it was much harder for him to pursue those ideas. In the end, his ideas became important to me; not because I shared his perspective, but because those ideas made him into the person he was today: my best friend.