Lessons from Old Friends

Samar - Fort Worth, Texas
Entered on May 7, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

We often hear people say, “true friendship lasts forever”, but we all know that sometimes things happen that causes friendships to die or drift apart. Some friendships do last a very long time, but not for everybody. What I have learned is that every friend someone makes teaches them something and helps them grow. I believe every friend someone has helps them grow, and that it’s the insight gained from the friendship that lasts forever.

Although born in America, I was raised by Palestinian parents who moved to the United States only a year before I was born. Growing up wasn’t exactly easy for me; the customs in my parents’ house were a lot different than what I would see when I was at school, therefore making it very hard for me to make any friends. The cultural differences between me and the other students is what made it hard for me to make friends. Where did I belong? Technically, I wasn’t Palestinian, and I didn’t feel American at all. What was I?

My parents were also very overprotective, restricting me from doing anything they might consider dangerous, which included going over my friends’ houses or playing outside. During middle school, I gradually lost the friends I made because of my overprotective parents. At first, I was upset about this, but then I came to value the lessons each friend has taught me about life. There are many things and feelings my parents didn’t allow me to experience, so I learned by listening to and watching each friend I made; their experiences were mine, as well as their mistakes and knowledge. Instead of becoming depressed over the way I had to live my life, I believed the experience has made me stronger as a person. My personality was a lot weaker when I was a child with fewer restrictions than it is now as an adult under an unnecessary amount of parental control.

In high school, I made the best friends I could ever ask for. Since I was the eldest child of foreign parents, I still didn’t understand many things, and my high school friends were the ones who taught them to me; they were my second family. Eventually, I was the one who had to leave them because I graduated high school a year early. It was painful at first, but I learned that we all have our own paths to take.

My parents don’t allow me to see my friends when they are in town, but we still talk. They have taught me so much about life that they have practically raised me. Although forced apart from my friends, I can never forget our time together. My beliefs were all shaped by all the different friends I had throughout my life, and although I doubt I will have the same friends in thirty years, I believe I will still learn from every encounter I have with every new friend I make.