Life is tough; it was never meant to be perfect, it was never meant to be easy, it was never meant to be black and white. Life is full of so many possibilities and adventures and feelings. Life is filled with colors and colorful people. Life is not simple, life is complicated and quirky and grand. And when Life hits with a gut-wrenching force, do not lose what makes you gold.

As humans, we have a mental capability that allows us to do so much more than we ever could’ve imagined, and we have more freedom in pursuing the things we desire and dream about. Our minds are each filled with different patterns and colors and art that make each of us unique. There is no perfect, but there are so many different perfectly imperfects. There is no one right, there is no set code for how to be a human and how to behave, what to say, how to please, how to be. One thing that is certain, is that we are each living our own lives according to our own experiences, and we are each trying to find ways to make us happy. And when we feel happiness, we turn gold and that gold radiates.

Gold is literally found in miniscule traces in every person, so it’s no surprise that people glow when they’re happy and that they feel as light as a feather, after all, that’s how the actual metal is. People radiate this hidden gold through their smiles and comfort, through words of support or compassion, through the softest touch or biggest of bear hugs. It lights up in a person’s eyes and echoes in laughter. It’s always there, it’s always trying to shine.

The question to ask yourself is,

What makes you gold?

Is it the messy room with paints scattered across the room, stains over the floor, a half-completed canvas on a table with paintbrushes stuck in dried up globs of goo? When the music is blasting in the background, making your feet tap and head rock side to side, as the notes swallow the room and drown out any worries and concerns? When the smell of freshly made food lingers in the room, and your tummy feels satisfyingly full, but there’s still room for your favorite dessert?

Is it the time spent helping others who can’t help themselves, whether they’re sobbing in your arms or asking for a hand to hold as you walk them down the street? When they’re looking into your eyes with pain and you look back with a reassurance that makes them crack a subtle smile, feeling comforted by your actions and words? When a simple compliment to them makes them blush sheepishly, and you get embraced into an unexpected hug?

Is it dancing alone on a Friday night when no one is around and all that matters is keeping your balance while the moon and stars watch you, laughing, through the crack in the window? When you take that first sip of coffee, crack your knuckles, sit down, and start writing the day away, feeling refreshed and content, like you’re accomplishing something for the day? When you hear someone tell you how much you matter, when moments before you wouldn’t have thought you did, so you break into a bright grin and warmth tingles through your body?

What makes you gold?

Every person has their own gold; some people may not realize when they tap into it, or they may be afraid of doing so, but it is always there. It can come out in the smallest of ways, shining just a little or blinding someone with its intensity. But it doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t be allowed to shine. Everyone has a right to their happiness; some just experience happiness differently than others.

Life works in mysterious and wild ways, and sometimes happiness is hard to find and feel. It can be like a raincloud hovering over your day(s), making everything slow down and feel dull. It may place a path of fire and smoke before you, suffocating you until you can’t think you can take it anymore, that at any moment you may break. Other times, it may shoot arrows at you from afar, trying to pierce straight into your soul and drive you away from what you want or think you need. It brings you pain when necessary, whether you know it in the moment or not.

But that doesn’t mean Life is completely cruel. It knows there is a gold within you, and sometimes it doesn’t know what to do with that, and sometimes it feels the need to steal it away from you. But gold doesn’t leave that easily, and sometimes Life actually wants to you to let the gold out and shine. We find ways to make good out of the bad times; we find ways to smile when we want to cry; we find ways to have strength when we feel like we can’t move on. We all have that gold that reminds us that we are okay, that life is grander than the bad moments, that happiness is there if we hold on long and hard enough.

Tapping into what makes you gold is harder than it seems, but it’s not a journey to take alone. We find gold in ourselves when we recognize the gold in other people and in ourselves. We are more likely to acknowledge our gold when we don’t have to actively search for it, and rather when it just bursts through and radiates outward, which does mean it can be tricky recognizing that we are radiating our gold when we can’t actually see it glowing off our skin. And we are more likely to radiate our gold when we are surrounded by people who feel the gold in themselves and let it out freely and happily.

But most of all, we all have our own unique gold that radiates through and drives us towards happiness. It gives each of us our own spark that helps make us such different but interesting and creative individuals. Our gold gravitates towards those who feel their own gold as intensely as we do. It’s not the only this metallic color that makes us who we are, we each have our own set of different and myriad colors that combine to create a color palette of our lives. It just so happens that we all share different variations of gold on our own palettes too.

Above all, keep true to your colors, embrace them, and let them lead you to paint a canvas of your life. But keep in mind, that you have gold on that canvas, that you always will, and to utilize it as best as you can, either for yourself or for others. There’s always something brighter, whether you realize it or not.

In the toughest of times and darkest of moments, stay gold.

(And here's the song that for several years now has lifted me up and remembered to keep this spark of gold and, most importantly, to stay gold)