If today were my last day, I think I would go without any real regrets. That feels pretty good. Now don’t get me wrong, I am very much opposed to going today, but I am certain that we have almost no say in the matter.

It’s comforting to think we do, but we don’t. Sure, we can be careful, and avoid dangerous situations; but the truth is, we don’t get to chose how we die; we chose how we live.

Although I would have no real regrets if today were my last day, the reason I would prefer to stay around longer is because there is so much good stuff left to do. Most of it is just the day to day beauty of life itself. So much sunshine to soak up. So many people to hang out with. So much cool stuff to learn. So many good times to share with my wife. So much good beer to drink.

Years ago during a particularly difficult stretch in one of my hospital stints, there were moments where I was having serious doubts that I would make it. When we’re younger, I think there’s part of us that silently assumes that we’ll be somehow happier about dying when we’re 90 than when we’re 30.

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I realized during that tough stretch, that’s probably not true; at least it probably isn’t for me. Assuming that I feel good, I think I’ll enjoy the sunshine, people, learning, wife, and beer as long as I can. I don’t expect to be any happier about dying when I’m 80, 90, or 100. This is not an expression of my spiritual beliefs. It’s an expression of my physical beliefs. I’m loving this ride, and I’m going to stay on until the operator kicks me off.

A friend of mine has been having some scary symptoms lately, and hasn’t gone to the doctor yet. He’s waiting to see if it passes. Bad idea. Something else I’ve learned is that nothing in your medical world is ever gained by waiting (except maybe your wallet’s thickness, but what’s more important?). So if you want to stay on this ride for a long time get things looked at, poked, sampled, screened early. Did I say early? Because I meant to say early. Write it down. Early.

I will also let you in on a little secret about the earlier line ‘we don’t get to chose how we die, we chose how we live,’ (It is a very true statement!) but that kind of thinking finally nudged my wife to approve the purchase of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Feel free to use it. Let me know how it goes.


Pete Hanson is on 98.1 Minnesota's New Country weekday mornings from 5:30 to 10:00.

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