What I learned about life from watching the soaps

soapoperadigestCue organ music.

Distinguished male voice over:

“In our last episode, publishing mogul Preston Thornton III was still in a coma as a result of the mysterious chandelier accident at his Bay City Mansion. His evil twin sister Iris hatched a deal with Metropolitan Hospital’s Dr. Lucas Moore to keep Preston unconscious until they had time to fraudulently embezzle his fortune.

Meanwhile, Preston’s wife, Felicity, the genuine heir, fell in love with Dr. Moore while spending long hours in the hospital at her father’s bedside. In a dramatic cliffhanger, Dr. Moore, Iris and Felicity found themselves in Preston’s hospital room, just as he opened his eyes and said to Felicity, ‘Who are you?’

Does Preston have amnesia? Will Dr. Moore continue to plot with Iris, or will he follow his heart and pursue Felicity? Will Preston cut his cheating wife out of his will? Who will get the riches? And who will find love?

And now, another episode of . . .”

Yep, I’ll admit it. There was a period in my life when I watched the soaps. Off and on between 1995 and 2000, I spent a lot of time sitting on the couch watching TV in the middle of the day. No, I wasn’t eating bonbons. I was a Navy wife at home nursing our three babies, and what could be a more fitting way to pass the time than watching a bit of “boob tube?”

I found it totally ludicrous, but surprisingly entertaining, that every soap opera character had been in a coma, was kidnapped, had amnesia, was switched with another baby at birth, came back from the dead, time traveled, and was cloned. I never took any of it seriously, although I am embarrassed to admit that I might have shed a tear or two when Bo married Fancy Face back in 1996.

I’m still a Navy wife, but now that my kids are teens, I don’t have an excuse to sit on the couch in the middle of the day and watch soaps anymore. But as we enter a new year, I realize that those soap operas actually taught me an important life lesson.

No, not to hatch an evil plot to steal the Quartermaine family fortune, or to create an evil clone of Reva Lewis, or to confront devil-possessed Dr. Marlena Evans-Black at Brady’s Pub, or to fake your death while in a voodoo trance.

Sure, the dramatic twists, turns and changes can be hokey and unrealistic in the context of “General Hospital,” but the concept that just about anything is possible can be motivating in real life, especially when trying to make New Year’s resolutions.

It is possible for me to exercise five days a week. It is possible for me to save more money. It is possible for me to get organized. It is possible for my husband and I to schedule a date night twice a month. It is possible for our family to get to church every week.

Let’s face it, we only have “One Life to Live.” As for me, I will be a “Guiding Light” for “All My Children,” and teach them that, although they may feel “Young and Restless,” they should look for “The Bold and the Beautiful” things in life as they “Search for Tomorrow.” And “As the World Turns,” we should all spend “The Days of Our Lives” striving to be a little better each year.

It is possible, because just about anything is possible.



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Comments: 7

  1. energywriter January 13, 2014 at 7:47 pm Reply

    Lisa, Original way to think about new year resolutions. Easier to keep your promises to yourself when you have television characters to watch your back. If those women can be pregnant for two years and their kids reach college age while I was in Germany for three years, they can do anything. So can you! sd

  2. Karen January 6, 2014 at 8:34 am Reply

    Not really related but I still think Jasper ‘Jax’ Jacks (Ingo Rademacher) from General Hospital was one of the finest looking men in TV. :)

  3. Maz January 5, 2014 at 11:45 pm Reply

    Such a clever and entertaining way to approach new year’s resolutions.

  4. ermigal January 5, 2014 at 8:41 pm Reply

    My mother told of watching “Secret Storm” in its infancy and watching the actor who’d been shot crawl off the stage due to a cameraman goof. Love that image! And I watched “General Hospital” now and then, enough to see Nurse Jessie marry at least six different characters. There was even one episode where the prior husband who’d been declared dead showed up at the wedding.
    And that is a great outlook: Anything is possible, so keep your goals ambitious and keep trying. Great post, I enjoyed it–thanks!

  5. BulgingButtons January 5, 2014 at 7:57 pm Reply

    Every afternoon my freshman year of college I watched Reva Lewis and Roxy and Billy and HB and Annabelle and Josh (oh that Josh!) and all the other pretend people on Guiding Light. What a fun fantasy time that was with two of my best friends. We were hooked! Thanks for the memory.

  6. mrsamandapope January 5, 2014 at 7:08 pm Reply

    As a military housewife myself, I understand where you are coming from; however, I never watched soap operas, well I won’t say never. My mother watched them all the time while I was growing up and so I do know the plots were ludicrous, but you are right we do need to make time for ourselves and making our lives better one day at a time.

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