Speer: Optimism is contagious, pass it on

My goodness has my glass been “half full” lately.

My wife would contend that is quite an accomplishment. She would say I’m more of a “half-empty” kind of guy who tends to focus on the problems rather than the potential.

Some would call that pessimissm. Given my profession, others might contend it is more skepticism.

These days it really doesn’t matter. I’m seeing things in a new light. Or, more to the point perhaps, so are you.

Never before on the streets of the region have I talked with so many people who are optimistic about the region’s future. They believe the best lies right ahead, and they’re anxious to see what the future holds.

Discussions soon head in one of two directions – unmanned aircraft systems (drones) or Meijer. Regardless, whichever topic begins the discussion, the other also is included eventually in the conversaion.

People are anxious to learn “all that I know” about either, to seek my opinion on both and to share with me their optimism about what the future might look like.

Frankly, all this positiveness is contagious.

Residents seem to walk a little taller, smile a little more often or actually maintain eye-to-eye contact when carrying on a conversation.

Who can blame us?

After all, we’re the generation of Northeast Michigan residents who have plodded through tough economic times that seemingly would never end.

We’re the generation who witnessed month after month of high unemployment numbers.

We’re the generation who have experienced the effects of the greatest export from the area – people (especially young people).

We’re the generation who witnessed firsthand the devastation of our agriculture and recreational economy from bovine tuberculosis in the local animal herd.

We’re the generation who watched our fishery turn upside down from invasive species.

We all experienced those realities and lived through them. Unfortunately, for most of them, we were forced to be reactive instead of proactive.

Thankfully, however, WE ARE NORTHEAST MICHIGAN.

And Northeast Michigan residents never back down, never give in and never give up.

Thus, when positive economic news is reported in the newspaper, residents tend to get excited. Why wouldn’t we?

Channeling that positive “vibe” around town by focusing on the people and attributes of the region, the newspaper Sept. 26 will publish a special edition entitled “We are Northeast Michigan.” Within it will be profiles of people from across the region who contribute to the fabric of the community, who make a difference everyday. The edition will highlight those things that make our region special and unique.

I’ve always believed it takes a special person who chooses to live here, where “a view of the bay is half the pay.” I believe our region is special. And yes, I believe the best for us lies just ahead.

I’m optimistic and looking at life with a glass half full these days.

What about you?

Bill Speer can be reached via email at bspeer@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 354-3111 ext. 331. Follow Bill on Twitter @billspeer13. Read his blog, More BS?(Bill Speer) at www.thealpenanews.com.