What does it mean to “Stay Gold”?

I’ve been thinking about it, and that poem, that guy that wrote it, he meant you’re gold when you’re a kid, like green. When you’re a kid everything’s new, dawn. It’s just when you get used to everything that it’s day. Like the way you dig sunsets, Pony. That’s gold. Keep that way, it’s a good way to be…–S.E. Hinton, The Outsiders


668There’s a poem by Robert Frost, that wonderful man, called “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” essentially speaking to the inevitable loss of innocence and self and wonder that comes with age:

Nature’s first green is gold, 
Her hardest hue to hold. 
Her early leaf’s a flower; 
But only so an hour. 
Then leaf subsides to leaf. 
So Eden sank to grief, 
So dawn goes down to day. 
Nothing gold can stay.

The first green burst of nature, like people, quickly becomes corrupted after the first instance it springs into the world. Its first sprout is gold–true, real, honest, innocent, earnest–but then all of this fades and gives in to the world around it. As Frost presents this, its completely inevitable.

In The Outsiders, however, two characters are reading this poem and discuss it and decide that they don’t have to be like that first green of nature; that they can, indeed, “stay gold.”

I quickly became obsessed with the concept of staying gold, and not just because it sounds lovely and retro and just cheesy enough when you say it to someone: “Stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold.” Everyone comes into this world completely, purely, gold–full of wonder and curiosity and intrigue and life, but the ways of the world do their best to wear all that down, to make one turn from one’s true self. I think, in all of my travels and adventures and relationships, all I want to do is stay gold.

Staying gold means keeping that childlike wonder. I want to always dig things like the way Ponyboy still digs sunsets.

I think it means doing your damndest to be yourself and stay true to yourself….even if you’re not sure what that “self” is.

To stay gold, to me, means that I continue to notice the world and refuse to be jaded by it, but continue to seek adventure.

And, to tell the truth…I’m also a bit of a magpie. “Gold” speaks to my more earthly enjoyments, I suppose, those items that I covet and hold dear.

“Stay Gold” encompass what I try to do in life, I guess, and once it occurred to me, it just kind of stuck. I try to notice, to seek, to improve. To “stay” while still moving toward something that hasn’t quite been figured out yet.


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