A person's education may vary immensely depending upon the schools that were attended, what priority education played in the person's life and how that person defines education in general. For me, education was not only accomplished by going to school and reading books, it was accomplished in a much broader sense. I viewed life as an educational process that would end with my last breath.

At a very young age, I developed a curiosity that has certainly tested many boundaries. I read, explored and ventured out beyond my yard to find myself and see what the world had to offer. At first, the journey was new and exciting. Even the obstacles were fun and challenging. Often times, I felt like there wasn't anything I couldn't do if I set my mind to it. I think my delusions of grandeur started to fade as I learned about things really are and not how they should be. It's certainly easy to see an injustice, but how many people actually can say they have righted a wrong on some huge scale? Certainly not me! The closest I can say I came was by participating in groups that advocated change in various ways.

My logic always seemed to follow that if enough people got together for a common cause, then they can change anything. I grew up believing that when my generation was old enough to be in a position of power, the world would change and be a better place. It was great in theory, but that's not how it happened. The intense passion my generation felt at one time mellowed in time. We all got older, some of us grew wiser and some became part of the machine that runs life as we know it now. Is the world a better place? In some ways I can say yes, but in many ways I have to say that life has become more complicated, harder to manage and more difficult to find individual freedom and happiness. It's as if as we age we lose something other than just youth. Do we lose the spirit, the fire that once burned within us?

I think back to a time when that flame burned bright. I think of all the people I knew and have to admit, it's those people who know me best. They are my roots. They are the people with whom I shared the upheaval of youth. They saw me blossom, become curious and explore... we learned about life, love, happiness, disappointment, death and how each day is really a new beginning. We learned how some clichés are true and those that touched our lives we kept with us...

I read The Outsiders when I was much younger and one thing I took with me from that book was the concept of "staying gold". As I grew older I forgot how incredibly right it felt to depart by telling someone to "stay gold and write lightly". Today I was reminded that staying gold is all about what happens within the mind and not the body. Yes, we all will age, grow old and someday die, but until that time, each of us can and must stay gold.

Gratitude statement: I have organized a reunion for the people who grew up in my old neighborhood in Maine. In August, we will come together, laugh, cry and pay tribute to the good old days and to the people who are no longer with us. I'm grateful for the 9 hours I will be amongst these kindred spirits.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.


  1. We have known each other for how long! I have missed many years in between but yet feel like we have picked up right where we left off. Still singing, and giggling and enjoying lifes journey together as friends... To ARE gold...

  2. wishing you the absolute best reunion. stay gold and "ride" lightly, as well. you in front, me in back.

  3. You know we are very similar in our mind-set...after I learned about real life I was in for a rude awakening...further more..I loved the outsiders...but I read as a means to escape my home is a direct link to how I see myself...and I understand where you are coming from!