The Purpose Of Life Isn't Happiness

The Purpose Of Life Isn't Happiness

No matter how hard we try we can never capture happiness. We have to be still and let happiness find its way to us.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make a difference that you have lived and lived well.”

When we are asked what we want from life, we simply answer, “I want to be happy” or “I want to make enough money so I am not worried.” It's confusing to read that the purpose of life is not to be happy when were are always told that happiness is key. Maybe the question is not how to achieve happiness, but what creates happiness? Could it be that we confuse happiness with these other traits: honor, usefulness, compassion, and making a difference?

When we feel happy, is it because we have money, cars, clothes, and the newest iPhone? Or is it when we have purpose? Perhaps the purpose of life is to have a purpose. If every one of us had a purpose and we knew what our mission was, maybe then we would be happy. Then no amount of money, material things, or other people’s approval would be needed for happiness.

Happiness is a fickle fleeting feeling because we experience it in bursts. We want to define our entire complex lives using one fickle feeling. Instead of concentrating on what makes us honorable, compassionate, useful, and impactful, we concentrate on a feeling. Happiness is not a creature that is captured easily; happiness runs away from us, it hides, and we will struggle forever if all we do is chase it.

However, to be honorable, compassionate, and useful are actions that we can choose to do. Once we have chosen to do something and we feel that purpose, it will create the happiness that we seek. If we wake up in the morning and know that we are making a difference, we can’t help but feel happy. When we are honorable and stick to our personal morals, we feel happy. Then, when put aside our pride and show compassion to another, we will rejoice in the feeling of caring.

So instead of chasing happiness, be still and choose to be something. When we are concentrating on having a purpose, we will stumble into happiness. It will find us and we do not need to find it. The goal of life may seem to be happiness, but we need to figure out how to achieve it without chasing it. We have to build the ladder before we start crawling to the top, and the ladder of happiness is composed of honor, compassion, usefulness, and living well.

Cover Image Credit: Nichole Bentz

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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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