Pave Your Own Path

Pave Your Own Path

Live a life that makes you happy.
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For as long as I can remember, I've had goals. Not goals that I actually worked towards achieving, but goals that were just there in the background influencing my ideas about how my life should be. I was trying to live up to the life that society tells us we need; the big beautiful house, expensive car, perfect mate and kids, nice things, and lots of money. I was wanting these things because I was supposed to want them, not because I really did. I was conflicted, and that was causing me distress. I also had the lingering misconception that acquiring the things I desired would bring me happiness. Wanting things is fine so long as you know those things alone will not make you happy. Because true happiness is found within.

Not very long ago, I decided to sit down and really think about what would make me happy, and as I did the list of external things began to get smaller and fade away. It was incredibly liberating. I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. Here is what I realized: I don’t want a big house because who would clean it, me? I don’t want a really expensive car, because I would rather travel the world, or feed a starving family for a year. I don’t want a perfect mate, otherwise I would need to be perfect. I don’t want my kids to be perfect, I want them to be themselves and make mistakes and learn. At last, I don’t want the entire focus of my life to be about making money just to buy more stuff because I have too much stuff already, and i'm really not into all that unless i'm trying to feed my ego.

So what would make me happy then? I kept thinking of how my life would look if it were “perfect,” and you know what I discovered? It already is. I just didn’t know it because I had this perfect ideal I was trying to live up to. We live in a society that teaches us to constantly be seeking approval and recognition. The issue that comes with this line of thinking is constant comparison; is my body as nice as hers, is my house as nice as theirs, is my car as nice as… and so on. We grow up submersed in social media, media, and fashion magazines that are all showing us how we should be. Or television shows that give us ideas of how life should look, and none of it is real. Even reality television shows aren’t real. So why are we looking to them for guidance? Your life is as perfect as you decide it is.

Life is all about variety and expansion, with each of us being our very own unique version of the universe expressing itself. I now feel a sense of duty to live my life as authentically as I can. Growth occurs when we all bring our own unique ideas and creativity to the table. If we all look to a select few as the idea generators, then we end up living a version of ‘The Stepford Wives,’ and that would be incredibly dull. There is only one of you in the whole world. So how should your life look? However the heck you want it to. Finally, if you want what you already have, then happiness is sure to follow.

Cover Image Credit: Google

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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A Second Person Has Achieved Long-Term Remission Of The HIV Virus

A second man has had long term remission of the HIV virus.

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Over a decade after the first man, known as the Berlin Patient, was declared HIV-free, another patient may also be cured. Though it's too early for scientists to say for sure, the London Patient has been in a long term remission for around 18 months without the help of medication. Both men were treated with a bone marrow transplant. However, these stem cells carried a rare mutation in the genes that affect the production of the CCR5 protein, which HIV viruses latch onto to enter the cell. The virus cannot latch onto the mutated version of the protein, thus blocking its entry into the cells.

With the transplant of these HIV resistant genes, the body effectively builds a new immune system free of the virus.

After the Berlin Patient went into remission, scientists tried and failed to replicate the cure and were unable to until the London Patient, whose HIV count has reduced into undetectable numbers. While this is extremely helpful, bone marrow transplants are not a viable option to cure all HIV infected people, as it is an extremely risky process and comes with many side effects. Even so, scientists are developing ways to extract bone marrow from HIV infected people, genetically modifying them to produce the same mutations on the CCR5 gene or the inability to express that gene at all, and then replacing it back into the patient so they can still build resistance without the negative effects of a bone marrow transplant. There have also been babies whose genomes have been edited to remove the CCR5 gene, allowing them to grow up resistant to HIV.

This does not eliminate the threat of the HIV virus, however.

There is another strand of the virus, called X4, that uses the CXCR4 protein to enter the cell. Even if the editing of the CCR5 allows immunity against one strand, it is possible for a person to be infected with the X4 strand of the virus. Despite this, immunization against one strand could save a countless number of lives, as well as the vaccine that is currently in the stages of development for HIV. Along with the London Patient, there are 37 other patients who have received bone marrow transplants, six of which from donors without the mutation.

Of these patients, number 19, known as the Dusseldorf Patient, has been off anti-HIV drugs for 4 months. It may not be a complete cure, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.

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