My daughter and I traipsed into an antique jewelry store in La Jolla, California and started to browse. We found pins we liked and earrings, a necklace, a ring. The woman proprietor came over and started to chat. Turns out, she is originally from Detroit.
Of course she is.
Everywhere I go, I meet Michigan people. People who spent summers at their grandparents’ house in Michigan. People who lived in Detroit for a chunk of their childhood. People who hail from the west side of my state. People from Up North. People who get what Michigan left is. People who like to eat coney dogs. People who prefer lakes to oceans.
People all over this world are fond of, and hail from, Michigan. They have only nice things to say. And they are everywhere. I literally run into Michiganians whenever I travel, and I travel a lot.
It’s funny because if you read the newspapers and magazines about my home state, and the place I chose to come back to after brief stints in New York City and Washington, D.C., you would think I live in a bombed-out wasteland.
All the media stories, even the ones about burgeoning entrepreneurship in the actual city of Detroit, either talk about the decades of blight that populate my state, or they start with an intro of “while it used to be home to burned houses and vacant lots…” or something like that.
Sure, there’s a lot of bad about Detroit. But it’s an old story.
An even older story, though, is how much good there is in Michigan. And how many of us feel this way.
My friend Lisa Diggs, founder of the Buy Michigan Now campaign, is launching a new effort, #MIPositivity. She’s traveling around the country to interview celebrities who have Michigan roots and connections about what they love about our state.
And people are lining up to talk. There is so much to share, so much good to acknowledge.
When Lisa gets this off the ground, I think it could revolutionize the way news is shared.
I was excited by this concept when she told me about it at lunch the other day. So excited, in fact, that I wanted to write about it and tell others. I’m ready to send her press releases about all the good news my clients generate, and she doesn’t even have the daily news website I suggested up and running.
So here’s some good news about the state of Michigan, from my perspective:
* People wave to thank you after you let them in in traffic.
* We have seasons. Yesterday felt almost balmy when it hit the 30s or 40 degrees and the icicles started dripping their melt. It’s beautiful to watch the seasons change, and I have good things to say about each of the four we get.
* We have really good universities and colleges. A lot of them, not just Michigan and Michigan State. And someone in every bar you go to will sing a fight song. Fierce pride, that’s what we have. You literally do not have to go out-of-state to get a great education.
* We still have untouched forests, in so many spots. Places to ponder the meaning of life and hike.
* Some of the most beautiful landscape on the planet is in our home state: the Upper Peninsula. It is spectacular. Peaceful. Untouched. And likely to stay that way.
There is so much more I could say about Michigan that is good, great, fun, lovable, and I wish it would be printed in major media because the image we get out there from the news is not so sweet. Still, I applaud my friend Lisa on her efforts to raise the positive profile of our state because it’s worth it.
By the way, did you know the benefits of looking for the positive? According to the Mayo Clinic, you’ll live longer, have less depression, you won’t get colds as often as your negative-prone peers, you’ll have a better state of mind as well as physical health, you’re less likely to die of heart disease and you can cope better when stress arrives.