I didn't want to make it a lifetime thing. I don't believe in statutory term limits, but people can limit themselves if they want to, and that's what I decided to do.
From my parents, I learned a very strong work ethic, and all of my brothers and sisters all worked from the earliest days of life right through to the present time.
I was born and raised in a small town in Maine, Waterville. I enjoyed living there - still do - and my goal in life was a fairly specific and focused one of practicing law in Maine.
I'm glad I made the decision, although the practice of law - and particularly serving as a federal judge - was a part of my life that I really enjoyed and treasured and look back on it with fondness.
So I developed very early a massive inferiority complex, and I've told the story often about how that inspired me later in life to get involved in other things, because I couldn't out-do my brothers in sports, and it's a very competitive relationship.
I spent two years in the Army. And my older brother, who was also a great positive influence on me, encouraged me to think about law school, and I said - well, I didn't have any money.
In every society in human history, including the United States, those in power seek to imbue themselves with the attributes of religion and patriotism as a way of getting greater support for their policy and insulating themselves from any criticism.
What is good about the United States is the sense that you can disagree with the government and not be seen as unpatriotic, although many in the government will try to make you seem unpatriotic.
As they say, one thing led to another, and, ultimately, the British and Irish governments asked me to serve as chairman of the peace negotiations, which ironically began six years ago this week.
And I spent that time working as an insurance adjuster and going to law school in the evening, and then when I left law school, I joined the Department of Justice in Washington.
In the spring of 1994 I decided not to seek reelection to the Senate. I had made the decision 12 years earlier, Christmas Day of 1982, just after I had been first elected to a full term, that I would do the best I could for a limited time.
When I went to college, my goal was to be a college history teacher. I majored in history.
My parents were very poor, but we never felt any sense of need or want. It was a very close, loving, tightly-knit family growing up, and I never felt any sense of deprivation or anything like that.
I really owe everything to my parents and their devotion and drive to see to it that their children had the education which led to the opportunities that they never were able to have.
Although he's regularly asked to do so, God does not take sides in American politics.