The 34-year-old won 109 caps for Scotland and scored 809 points in the process, both record-breaking figures.
The former Edinburgh and Gloucester star also played at four rugby World Cups and picked up his MBE for services to sport, even if he questioned his suitability for the award.
"You feel a wee bit guilty, you don't know if you deserve it or not," he said.
"You set goals as a rugby player, and you reach goals, whether it be club level, or international, and you think that's it.
"You never set out looking to achieve anything like this, so I suppose the big thing is to try to enjoy it and remember it for the rest of your life."
Paterson is now a coach and ambassador for Scottish rugby after playing his final game in May.
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