The best things in life are free.

We live in a world that values material goods. However, it is a fact that material goods do not guarantee happiness. The best things in life are free - they are not tangible goods such as silver, gold and diamonds. Neither are they the gadgets that we fancy.

There are a few best things in my life that come completely free of charge. One of them is my family, who is always there for me when everyone is far away. No matter how bad circumstances get, my family members will never abandon me.

Last year, I did badly in my final examinations. The results were so bad that I lost confidence in myself and was very much depressed. I decided to quit school and start working instead. When my parents learnt about my decision, they were extremely astonished. My father called a family meeting. Instead of admonishing me, my parents explained lovingly and patiently to me about the importance of receiving a decent education before I stepped out into society. My elder sister, who excels academically, agreed to help me with my studies. My two other siblings, although younger than me, gave me their full support and encouragement.

After the meeting, I spent the long holidays studying. My sister kept her promise and did whatever she could to assist me. By the time the holidays ended, I had caught up with most of the subjects and walked into my school confidently when the new semester began. Until today, I am still on the right track. I must admit that this would not be possible without the love, support and assistance from my family members who definitely cannot be bought with money.

It is extremely true that real friends do not come with price tags. Friends that be bought are insincere friends with ulterior motives. Chloe and Audrey are my two best friends that I really appreciate and am thankful for. They are not only considerate and helpful but compassionate as well. About two years ago, my family and I went to Langkawi for our holidays. The day that we came back was also my birthday. That evening when we arrived home from the airport, Chloe and Audrey were waiting for us at our gate. They brought along a birthday cake that they had specially baked for me. They had also prepared some other food for the surprise party that they were planning to throw for me. My family, especially I, were pleasantly surprised and deeply touched by their kind acts. The birthday party turned out to be the best that I have ever had.

Apart from family and friends, I am also thankful for my body. I have a brain and the ability to think. My five senses - sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing - certainly cannot be purchased. Every single day is a gift to me and I should treasure it. Since life is extremely precious and happens only once, I will live it to the fullest.

There are many things in life. Some of them can be bought while the others cannot. Even though material goods can bring some measure of happiness, they do not guarantee lasting happiness. The best things as mentioned above - family, friends and our body - are free and more likely to guarantee us everlasting happiness. Instead of taking them for granted, we should be appreciative of them and treasure them.