Taking chances

Mary Hanson talks with Reatha Clark King, a former president of Metro State University and former vice president of General Mills, in a recent interview about growing up in segregated Georgia and race relations today. Photo by Elandra Mikkelson

Isn’t it crazy, how much the seemingly little decisions we make every day can sometimes completely change our lives?

A chance meeting at a coffee shop could lead you to your future spouse.

One decision on the highway can end — or save — a life.

That quick email you sent or that phone call you made to an old friend could land you a job.

Our paths in life seem so set in stone on the surface — so calculated and planned and predictable.

But they’re really not.

Mary Hanson — this month’s vibrant Good Age Cover Star — is proof of that.

Though today she’s the host of The Mary Hanson Show — the longest-running independently produced cable program in the U.S., more than 35 years ago she was on an entirely different track.

She had a busy life, two young children and a thriving career as a licensed independent social worker and social services consultant.

But with a spontaneous turn of her steering wheel three decades ago, she found herself in the parking lot of an AM radio station, launching a whopper of a second act — a broadcasting career that has helped her reach millions of people.

To this day, Hanson is still incredibly excited to produce her TV program. And the word retirement isn’t even on the table.

“Sometimes it’s hard for me to go to bed at night because I’m so busy planning the next week’s show,” she said. “I work with guests — well past the so-called retirement age — who are coming up with new strategies and goals, so I’m less afraid of aging because of these models who inspire me.”

If you’re not familiar with Hanson’s show, check it out on TPT MN or YouTube or at maryhansonshow.com.

Hanson not only has a gracious and kind — yet inquisitive — way with the fascinating Minnesotans she invites on the show, but she also has a warmth and a glow that make her positively magnetic on screen.

She’s a Minnesota gem, who truly shines.