maurice benard birthday bash gh

Howard Wise/JPI

“I never would have imagined that my life would be so much better a year after having it been hell.”

The pandemic has, without a doubt, been rough on all of us. For many, though things didn’t get much darker than our stay-at-home days. This is something General Hospital‘s Maurice Benard knows well, and it’s something he reflects on in a special Year in Review edition of his podcast, State of Mind. With the world shut down and General Hospital and Sonny in limbo, the actor admits that for a time, life seemed as if it couldn’t get any bleaker.

More: Jon Lindstrom marvels on the difference a year makes

But that’s just a memory at this point — something that’s abundantly clear when Benard begins the day-after-Christmas video with a cheeky, “Hello, my name is Maurice Benard, AKA Santa Sonny.”

It helped, of course, that General Hospital returned from the Covid break, Benard got to finish the Alzheimer’s story with Mike and Sonny’s portrayer won an Emmy in the process. Plus, he went from driving around at the height of the pandemic and doing State of Mind in the car, to putting it up on YouTube. 2021, Benard shares, really turned things around for him and made the actor appreciate life anew. Watch what he has to say below.

“It’s been a great year,” Benard marvels. “It’s been a learning year. A year of thinking you’re not gonna go on to ‘I love every minute of the day.’”

The transition to YouTube was tough, he admits, “but we all believed, we truly believed, everybody believed in State of Mind. And we finally got to where it’s at now. So we’ll see what happens, where this all goes.”

Where it’s going right now is Benard speaking out and encouraging folks that life really does get better, even though you may be mired in the darkness. He’s living proof of it.

More: Bradford Anderson gives his best Jason impression

“I just want to say to you guys to love one another,” Benard encourages, “because you never know when somebody won’t be there anymore. Treat everybody good.”

“We never should assume what life is,” the Emmy winner continues. “Life is gonna tell you what it is. It is what it is. We have no control over it. We just have to live in the moment. Right now. Right now, me talking to you is the best moment right now. This is the best moment. Enjoy. Right. Now.”

“Love you guys,” he says at the end, “and let’s take this to another level. I know we will.”

Take it in and take the time to reflect on all the actor has to say. And once you’re in a good space, maybe stop by to check out a gallery of Sonny’s life and appreciate the fact that Benard is still bringing everyone’s favorite mobster into our homes almost every day of the week.