30 Years of Days

30 years. Over 10950 days. Almost 263000 hours.

Even knowing that’s how much time has passed, I somehow feel caught in a time warp.

As I sit eating my Quarter Pounder at the campus McDonald’s, I can’t take my eyes off the TV screen perched on the wall.

Just as if nothing has changed at all—over the last 10,950 days—Patch and Kayla argue, arms and hands flailing in the air.

Then Hope appears on screen, hardly worse for the wear after three decades.

Can it be? Is that Abe Carver, former Salem police chief, talking in his customary calm voice? Yes, it is. He may be sporting some gray hair, but he still looks pretty good.

Is this real life? Am I really sitting here watching the same “Days of Our Lives” characters on the TV screen as I had exactly 30 years ago—back when I was prepping to move to this town and begin my freshman year of college?

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I’m so ready to be out of this class. Just want to get back to my dorm room, relax, and watch my show.

Thirty years ago, after moving into the dorm, I had the VCR in my room set to tape “Days” every day. If my 1:00 class let out a couple of minutes early, I would usually walk into my dorm room just as the end credits rolled.

I’d let the videotape rewind as I settled in, pulling up my desk chair and plopping down in front of my roommate Bill’s TV. I needed that 45 minutes or so of solitude (I’d fast forward through commercials) to take in my show and unwind after a day of classes.

How are those same characters still on this show—one I once loved and wouldn’t miss for the world?

What if we ask nearly the same question except in terms of 18-year-old me: How weird is it that I’ve fast forwarded the days of my life ahead 30 years, only to find myself gazing at a TV screen with the same characters on it? Where in the world did 30 years go? This can’t be real life…

Later that afternoon, after returning to work from lunch, I’d get resolution to the questions bouncing around in my head—a gentle reminder that I am indeed getting older.

I received a Facebook message from one of the girls heading up my 30 year high school reunion, wanting to know if I was planning on attending. She said RSVP’s had been slow coming in, so she’d decided to reach out to class members.

Did I really just call a 47-year-old woman a girl?

So, it’s true. Time has marched on, day by day, just as I had suspected.

Here I sit in this McDonald’s, eating my lunch, and gazing out the window at the campus I—so green and naive—arrived at so long ago.

Much has changed for sure. But much is still the same—like this particular McDonald’s, which had already been built when I came to town. Not much about it has changed—especially the blandness of the Quarter Pounder.

But I’ve definitely changed, some for the better and some for the worse. Now I just need to figure out which is which.

I’ll try to do that over the next 30 years, while Patch and Kayla continue to sort out their stormy relationship.

Who knows, maybe Victor Kiriakis will have made a reappearance by then—after recovering from decades-long amnesia.

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“Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.”

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