Saturday, September 3, 2011

They Say Life Begins At Forty

I have always felt as though I have had two lives. I lived to be sixteen in my first life.  Now my second life is ended at forty. As I begin my third life, I find striking similarities between the beginnings and endings of all three.

Both Number One and Number Two ended with me being in a hospital. Both at the beginnings of Numbers Two and Three I have no idea how long the hospitalizations will be. Little did I know what was happening or how my first life would end and how the ramifications would affect not only my life but the lives of who knows how many other people. People have often told me I have no idea how many others I have inspired, educated or changed in one way or another by the way I have lived my second life.

That simply is not true. I have always known my words, actions and deeds have influenced people who I may have never met. True, I do not know the exact numbers. I just know it happens all the time because people tell me how an instant in time has affected their lives. My second life surely was not lived the way I had imagined it would be. But then who among us can say their life has gone as they had anticipated it would? 

In the book I have written, one of the chapters shows a poster which reads I Still Believe In Tomorrow. I do not remember who gave me that poster. The poster is long gone, but like so many of the things I have said and done, the person who gave it to me does not know how inspiring it has been. If you are the one, or know who gave it to me, please let me know. I want to thank you personally.

I still have not decided on the title of my book, and it may very well end up being I Still Believe In Tomorrow

I am dictating this to my mom on September 3, 2011. I do not know how long I will be in the hospital this time.

Right now, I am lying in bed with a PICC line in my right arm as two heavy-duty IV antibiotics are raging war with the bacteria currently trying to keep me down. So, I cannot use my right arm. With assistance from my cousin Susie and her husband Tom, we are getting this posted today. Coincidentally, Tom wrote an article about me which appears in today's Minneapolis StarTribune, which you can read by clicking here.

As always, I welcome your comments.




Earl Hipp said...

Hey Mike. Thanks for that beautifully honest statement of your challenges. At your worst moments you still manage to be inspirational. I'm off to New England till the 19th, and will come visit where ever you are on my return.

I Love "I'm Not Done Yet" for a title. I think, given your legacy, you'll simply go on being inspirational, and never be done.

Love ya, Earl

Rick said...


Just a quick email to say that I always enjoy reading your posts.

Good story by Brakke in the Minneapolis Star Tribune regarding who you are and the impact you have made on peoples lives. Its inspiring.

As for the title of your book ... like "I'm Not Done Yet" best.

My best to you as work your way back to once again speaking to groups.



Carlye Peterson said...

Hi, Mike!
I have been keeping up with your posts - glad to have you "back." I think of you often and remember some of our robust conversations both when we worked together at the U and after. Our son (for whom you provided sage advice when he was a middle and high school football player) got married last summer and then he and his bride moved to Italy to teach for a year. We visited them there over Easter and now they are back, preparing for the school year here. He teaches high school English and she teaches chemistry. I guess opposites do attract!

As for your title, I think people are drawn toward titles that make them wonder, "What's that all about?!" The "Don't Ever break your neck ..." certainly fits that one as well as "I Know Why I Broke My Neck." It is like that brochure you have/had about the electric chair ... I like "I'm Not Done Yet," too, but if that isn't available ...

Hugs to you, friend! Off to work - can't wait, I have people to lay off.........sometimes I don't like the work I have to do.
Carlye Peterson

David said...

Hello Mike,

I read about you in the Star Tribune and realized that you came to speak to my class back in the Fall of 1982. I can still remember to this date how you described the tackle that lead to your injury. It is something that will always stay with me. Back then I didn't take a lot of stock in what you were saying, but as the years go on I realize how lucky I have been not to face the challenges you have over the years.

What I find interesting is that I saw your address on your website. I must have lived right next door to you back in 1994-95. I lived in a duplex at 3231 Emerson Avenue. If this is true, we live in such a small world. Two years ago our family left Minnesota for Connecticut for my wife to pursue a new career. It was a great opportunity to really try something new and expand our horizons.

However, I now find myself in a very difficult position in my life as I am looking at getting a divorce. Today just happens to be our 11th wedding anniversary. I know this cannot even remotely compare to your situation, but it is something I was not prepared for. I have two young children ages 9 and 8 and they mean the world to me. For the first time in my life, I am feel as if the world I live in is being torn apart and I am "paralyzed" with fear for what the future holds. Maybe happening across your story was divine intervention to get me to look inward and understand that I cannot just give in or give up. You are an inspiration and I applaud you for the beautiful life you have made.

Thank you and God Bless You!

David Johnson