It’s not easy to make a life in Northern Michigan in the traditional suburban American sense. There’s the adage, “View of the Bay, half the pay.” And lots of folks trying to make 12 months of a living in 9 months (or maybe 3). Somehow when I originally started this blog, I thought I would share the short cuts and tips for a successful life Up North. I hoped to redefine success and find ways to make it work.
And I thought I’d include poetic references to my own romance, not that I know anything at all about romance, or love. Hence the name of this blog, Loving and Living Up North. In fact, I’ve discovered that there are many more qualified people to talk about both topics and I’m often humbled by my Facebook news feed of friends out living a successful Northern Michigan life, together. They are together searching out ice caves, on happy walks with kids in tow or in happy groups around fireplaces.
What I often discover is an enemy alchemy that thwarts even my stalwart drive to enjoy the opportunities that are all around me. Seeing that Bay is part of our compensation Up North, so you have to get out and get it. I know I’m not the only one. And so I thought I’d share what hurdles I discover in an attempt to not to be some Patagonia-garbed Pollyanna.
We woke to fluffy snow so light that it floated like bubbles, a single flake traveling up as much as down in nearly a half hour of travel. At a friend’s house I watched these cotton candy wisps float around the cedars leaning over the Belanger Creek. It was a Currier & Ives moment. Dropping my daughter off at a friend’s, we saw a huge eagle perched in a tree at the top of hill by Bingham Township. He was so big we thought he was a turkey and then the sun came out, revealing his gleaming white head.
I had time to go skiing. I could have continued my awe striking day. But I didn’t go. I told myself I would do some house work, and I had some work. And then I would go. I was cold in the house. I snuggled under a blanket while the battery on the laptop waned, telling me that if I didn’t plug it in, it would shut down. And so my afternoon became my evening. Tired. Stressed. Things to do. I have a season pass, so no cost. All of these excuses didn’t really keep me from cashing in on the great energy I could have received from one flight down a ski slope.
There are very real things that can sabotage someone: health, exhaustion, depression. Northern Michigan folks suffer as well as anyone. I have migraine headaches, so I’m fully aware of how delicate brain chemistry is.
After a great adventure tubing on New Year’s Eve, my friend remarked, “Thanks for getting this organized.” I was surprised at the comment. It was his idea and I said as much. “Well, sometimes I need a little push,” he said.
Recently I spent the day cajoling my husband into going to his Valentine’s dream date: the Bill Maher tickets that sold out in 90 seconds. He didn’t feel well, it was record cold and the roads were all but closed most of the day. But we went together.
And there’s the key: together. Some days I’m the instigator, some days, like today I need a little push. Oftentimes, it’s my daughter and I with plans. She encourages me, I encourage her. Today, she was with friends. The photos that I see on Facebook are very rarely one person out there by themselves. Sometimes. But most of the time, there several friends in the photo.
So if you notice that friends haven’t collected their view of the Bay, give them a call and invite them out. You might be the little push that gets them out there. And together, we can live and love Up North.