I recently watched a TED talk by a woman who spent many years working in the daytime soap industry. She talked about the fact that there are many lessons to be learned from soaps, and soap characters; including perseverance, belief in one’s self, and that any obstacle can be climbed, and overcome.
I have to admit that it got me thinking about something I used to say to my fellow soap friends; ‘forget kindergarten, everything I ever needed to know about life, I learned from General Hospital.” So, in the spirit of the holiday season, I’m sharing my top three favorite pieces of dialogue, each a lesson I learned from a lifetime of watching General Hospital.
Note, some of them are sad, but they spoke to me, and taught me some of the truest, most poignant lessons a twenty something version of myself needed.
1: Mary Mae to Stone
Stone was dying, and considered taking his own life. When he asked Mary Mae why he should continue, this is what she shared with him.
“Every moment of my life, whether from joy or pain, has the potential for grace realized. Whether it’s an opportunity to learn something, or whether it’s an unexpected connection, or whether it’s finding love, where you didn’t think it existed. These are gifts from God . . .The truth is we are put on this earth for reasons that we don’t even know why, and I believe it’s not something we can bail out on.”
2: Lois to Brenda
Lois is leaving her relationship behind, because she admits that sometimes it about more than loving someone. Sometimes, it’s better to end things when you can’t fix them, and give yourself a chance to move forward. Here’s how she explained her reasoning to her best friend.
“You don’t just marry a person; you marry their lousy childhood, and the things they’re too afraid or ashamed to tell you, and the monsters underneath their bed, and whatever put them there.”
3: Billionaire Jasper Jax explains his philosophy on life and the world to his wife; and why he doesn’t consider wealth the most important thing.
“Life doesn’t write anyone a blank check. History is impatient with pointlessness.”
“What does it really mean to own something? All of those hundreds of acres, with all of those buildings on them? It means your name is on a bit of paper in a cabinet somewhere, that’s all. The land doesn’t give a damn. It’ll be there long after you’re gone. You get to say the buildings are yours, but all you can ever really occupy is the space between your shoes and your hat. Yes it’s a game, with referees we elect to keep track of the pieces of paper, and banks to keep score to tell us who’s ahead. You take them away, how real is any of it?” The world owns us, not vice versa. It’ gives us life, it feeds us, and then it feeds us to the worms. That’s ownership”
I keep these scripted lines in notebooks and my journals, so that I can refer back to them when I need a lift, or courage, or understanding. I hope they can do the same for you.