This post was written by Adam Babcock, my partner with NxtGen Marketing. Although Adam grew up in Michigan, he has been living out on the West Coast for the past few years, until his recent move to Chicago.
I recently decided to move back to the Midwest, from Los Angeles to Chicago. While apartment hunting in Chicago, I figured I would just stay with my parents back in Michigan. I thought, at the most I will be home for a couple weeks, and it would give me a chance to spend some quality time with my family (who all still live in Michigan), which is one of the main reasons I wanted to move back to the Midwest.
My plan didn’t quite work out as I had hoped. It took me much longer to find an apartment than I originally thought it would. However, I am glad it did, because during my time back home, something truly great happened. Something completely unexpected, yet much appreciated. I fell in love with Michigan…again!
I absolutely loved growing up in Michigan. And I wouldn’t trade my 4 years at Michigan State University for anything. But after I graduated, I can honestly say Michigan wasn’t exactly my favorite place. More and more of my friends were moving away. I was stuck in a job I didn’t like or want. There were very few opportunities in Michigan to do what I actually wanted to do, and the years and years of cold, grey winters had finally taken its toll on me. So I left and didn’t look back.
When you don’t live in Michigan, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking nothing positive is happening there. Detroit is practically looked at as a third world country by outsiders. The only press we get is negative press. Whenever I would go home to visit, they would be short trips focused on family. I didn’t have time to get out and see what was going on around the community. So when I recently came back, I came back with the same mindset I had when I left. “I don’t want to be here.”
It didn’t take long for that mindset to change. The very first weekend I was home, there was Arts, Beats and Eats in Royal Oak, the Detroit Jazz Festival, and Eminem and Jay-Z, two of the biggest names in hip hop, were putting on show at Comerica Park. We played host to a number of high profile events, such as TEDxDetroit and 140 Conference Detroit. I saw Transformers 3 being filmed in Detroit, and heard countless stories from friends and family of all the stars they have been seeing around town. And as great as these things were, it was the little things that really helped me fall back in love Michigan. Taking my dog on walks through all the beautiful neighborhoods. Seeing the sense of community among the residents. Even the fall foliage! These are things you don’t necessarily get outside of Michigan. And quite frankly, I didn’t realize how much I missed them until I came back.
There were two questions people always asked me when I met them for the first time after I had moved away:
1.) Why did you leave Michigan?
2.) Would you move back?
I do not regret my decision to move. I learned a lot over the past 3 years and they have helped me grow to be the person I am today. But my answers to these questions have certainly changed. 3 years ago, I would have told you, I left because I wanted to live somewhere I could have fun in the sun, and that I probably don’t see myself ever going back. While the answer to the first question might be the same, my answer to the second question is dramatically different. Would I ever move back to Michigan? I not only hope to, but I plan on it!
My question to you is, have you taken another look at Michigan lately?