‘Nothing Gold Can Stay,’ and That’s OK

Jamie Hughes avatar

by Jamie Hughes |

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In the South, we have a tendency to cram words together to create a single gigantic one, a kind of linguistic Pangea, if you will. The one I’ve been using a lot lately is “usetacould,” a condensed form of the phrases “I used to be able to” and “I once could.” For example, “I can’t run a seven-minute mile these days, but I usetacould.”

It’s something I’ve often said as an MS patient. Some things I once did with ease are now a bit more challenging. All I can do is make the best of it and keep on truckin’. Other things, well, let’s just say I’ve learned to love them and let them go.

It doesn’t mean I don’t think about them from time to time or I don’t wish to be able to go back in time or pause it indefinitely. I certainly do wish both of these things. I mean, who wouldn’t want to rewind and erase a mistake? Who doesn’t want a shining moment to last forever?

However, as Bilbo Baggins sings in “The Hobbit,” “The road goes ever on.”

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Next month, I will officially enter my mid-40s, and time seems to be speeding up to a breakneck pace. I’m coming to understand the truth: I only have so many years, days, and hours allotted to me, and I can’t spend all of them in wishful thinking.

My husband and I adopted two boys when our eldest was 8 and his brother 5. Today, I filled out paperwork to enroll the eldest for his first year of high school. Seriously, what is happening?! Yes, he is now 15, and he’s moving into the last stage of childhood. Before I know it, he’ll be grown and gone.

The younger one will follow a few years later, and then the phase of life I came to a little late (and somewhat reluctantly) will end. But something new and wonderful will begin, too.

When we began the foster and adoption process, someone told me to be mindful because “the days are long, but the years are short,” and oh brother, was she right. It’s like I’ve blinked and suddenly the silly little second grader that was standing in front of me is now a young man with a full chest, a deep voice, and much bigger feet.

It happened just like that, totally without my say-so. But rather than bemoan it and say things like, “I usetacould pick him up and carry him” or “I usetacould enjoy watching cartoons with him,” I’m choosing to embrace where he is (and where I am) right now. Because I don’t want to miss out on anything, even if it’s not like what I remember or used to enjoy.

Robert Frost said it best when he wrote, “Nothing gold can stay.” It’s the way of all things to change, and there is a time and a season for everything. The key is not fighting to hold on to what once was, but embracing what is.

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, Bionews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Paula avatar


Love the way you love your boys. They leave eventually and you grieve. For a while. Then you realize that your laundry is dwindling. Yea! Then the youngest leaves. Again the laundry is down. You adjusted to the silence. You like it. No more cooking for a small army.lol. Like MS, we adjust and move on. Don’t like it but you’ve more time to devote to your obvious writing skill among so many other things. Kinda like when one sense stop another takes. You got this. It’s almost a slow motion movie. Keep up your writing. I’m old now 70, and I enjoy your words. An old expression comes to mind and unsolicited advice..Make love not war! Take care of yourself and your marriage. The boys will be fine.

Jamie Hughes avatar

Jamie Hughes

Paula, those are wise words indeed. I will not miss the laundry or cooking for sure, but I'm pretty sure I'll miss other things. And thank you so much for the kind words about my writing. It's been a struggle over the last year or so with covid and all the nonsense going on, but I'm happy to hear you're enjoying what I do manage to produce. ;)

Nicola West avatar

Nicola West

I love your column Jamie! "The days are long but the years are short." So true! I remember literally breaking the day into hour-long slots when my kids were really small and counting down to when I had time to myself...and the days just dragged. Now I would do anything to go back and really be present for them. But your writing is so life-affirming. I shall try to stop fighting and embrace what is!

Jamie Hughes avatar

Jamie Hughes

Oh wow, Nicola! Thank you so much for the kind words. I truly do appreciate them more than you know. That's the exact goal of my column--to be life-affirming, encouraging, and positive. It makes me so happy to know I've accomplished that.


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