Stay gold, Ponyboy

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.

Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost

In SE Hinton’s young adult novel The Outsiders (and the 1983, Brat Pack-filled, Francis Ford Coppola film of the same name), Ponyboy is one of a gang of teenage hoodlums. But he has an artistic sensibility and the potential to do something with his life, get away from the gang violence. Frost’s poem represents this, and Ponyboy’s best friend Johnny, in his dying words, reminds him to stay on the path to a better life: “Stay gold, Ponyboy…stay gold.”

Now, I’m not a teenage hoodlum nor trying to survive in a violent present, and staying pure rather than getting sullied is not really my problem, but sometimes I need some encouragement to stick to my chosen path. So like this quote and what it represents.

I know what I’m doing, what I want to achieve, where I’m going. For once (and this is unusual for me), I actually have a vision of where I want to be in 10 years’ time. And I know that starting something from scratch, getting something new going, is like pedalling a track bike from a standing start.

But self-doubt keeps creeping in and I lose the path for a while. I worry about the present, that I’m being reckless when I should be sensible and look for security rather than leaping into the unknown. Sometimes I spend too much time dithering about work/life/what I’m doing/where I’m going; I end up falling down various rabbit holes, exploring possibilities, discounting options, until I make a decision and am happy and have direction. Great! But it’s THE SAME DECISION I MADE BEFORE and have lost sight of. It’s good to reaffirm, but I get annoyed with myself for wasting time when I could have just been getting on with it.

I guess this is what life coaches do, keep you on track. But I mostly just need tiny nudges, maybe an inspirational poem, person, song or film. Perhaps I should compile all these in one place so I can just pick it up when needed, or maybe that would just be more procrastination…

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