Invisible President : Thinking About the Quality of Life in the State of Michigan
By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu
There are many considerations to think about when developing one’s State. A good way to develop businesses for one’s State and to make it more appealing for the long haul are looking at things that make it good for people with disabilities, good for the elderly, good for children, good for diversity, good for internationalism, good for businesses to thrive, good for nature, good housing prices, low cost foods, low cost of living, low rents for students, good schools, good roads, no pollution and great culinary.
Size of one’s house can be an interesting consideration to keep energy costs low and lawn care easy and property taxes low or make it easy to pay off while you’re young. Michigan has a good selection of houses in a variety of sizes from baby houses to luxury estates. When thinking of what one will always be able to afford at different stages in one’s life it may be interesting to gauge the stability of your job over time, the consistency and strength of one’s income, and look realistically at one’s belongings to be able to accommodate one’s present and future belongings within a space, plus one’s family, extended family and grandchildren. It may be more appealing to acquire a 10 year mortgage and plan for easier spending in older more fragile years. Wouldn’t it be great if we curbed property taxes on the elderly so people can really have peace when they are aging and stay in their homes.
Michigan is a really appealing place to retire and build one’s life for the long term for many reasons. It’s a great Christmas State with 4 distinct seasons. There are many beaches and lots of water in general in the state. There are also places to enjoy nature as well as many nature reserves and State Parks for camping in nature or near the beach. Many persons in Michigan enjoy a primary residence and vacation house on one of Michigan’s variety of rivers and lakes. Many people get older spending all summer on one of Michigan’s lake’s fishing. Even if you don’t have a lake house, you can launch a boat or tow a boat to a public beach. There are tons of places to exercise and keep fit do yoga or martial arts or nice gyms that keep Michigan’s population healthy. Many persons in Michigan will install pools or Jacuzzis. Michigan has a variety of lakes each with their own claim to fame, some have islands, some have certain kinds of fish that appeal to a community, some have beaches and walk ways, marinas and it goes on and on. We can always dig more lakes!
After traveling in my younger days, I really hope that we can keep Michigan “cheap,” with a low cost of living to make it easier for students to study and in the end have a smarter population. If we have cheap housing or even a ghetto, we should place a good school there where students can live cheaply.
I hope that we can have inexpensive access to foods as well as international foods that bring a lot culture and cache. Some countries I studied in overseas the cost of living was so high as a student I could barely wash my clothes or cut my hair etc. Let’s keep it cheap, cheap, and cheap. We need more monies for advanced studies like PHD’s and to build scholars cities with lots of books and book fairs. I hope we can collect even books from out local writers which are many (including me).
I hope that we can be hospitable to internationalism and really fight all racism and keep it out of the State and make this a safe haven. I think what we really need is more monies for education plus to seed the State with more opportunities for merit and notoriety and both can be business ideas for people engaged in MBA’s. For example someone could run an award like the Pulitzer or Nobel Prize.
There are good programs for low income, including subsidies for people with disabilities, however we could use a better “net” to catch someone who may be falling and cannot pay a variety of things. Right now in Michigan the “net” is not good enough to catch one before foreclosure and eliminate that as an option or to catch one before homelessness and eliminate that as an option. People also have problems paying off credit cards, paying household bills and having their general needs met. We need places for free clothes, free food, free resources or necessities-those are good businesses to start-we need a free world. I once went to Salvation Army when I was short on my rent and they help in court not before the relationship is ruined and terminal, there is almost nothing that will help you in the event you cannot pay rent in Michigan and there should be. We need to build up our “net” in Michigan, so when we are falling there is something there to catch us.
I think the overarching idea is not to just build a bank account, but to build one’s community or to build one’s State and family. Churches should know I think there are USDA Grants to start food pantries and feed low income persons, young people, students, parents or people with disabilities, or unemployed. Perhaps that’s a viable business a minister or community could engage in? Perhaps an MBA coming out of school could start a Food Pantry?
I think what is missing from Michigan is development of the creative sector. There are a lot of students in art schools and I wonder what is the full capacity of the creative sector to absorb our graduates? What would be good is to direct more artists to architecture schools like Lawrence Tech and to Skilled Trades for more industrial craft skills or to natural resources or to manufacturing or to development of the sector. You may have thought about painting but how about erect a sky scraper? We could use an “eclectic gallery district,” more museums, family entertainment, more theaters, more music venues, more community art centers-a bigger and more vibrant creative sector. We need to build skills not only as curators but as exhibition designers. I think the key is perhaps to think outside the box and really think creatively about community needs, industrial strengths and how to build things up in and out of galleries-how to liberate and how to become a community builder.
I would like to see art that goes with the State or extends its cultural offerings. It would be really great to see all the houses lit up for the holidays and people really decorating their porches every holiday and also planting shrubs, grass, trees and flowers. There are flowers you can plant that will come back year after year and really hearty flowers that stagger their blooms. At Meijer’s you can pick up seeds for even $2 and have something growing.
I would love it if Michigan were known for great beaches, great camping, fire places in and out, cider mills, great music, great cities and schools ranked #1 and even Christmas. Eastern Michigan University for example has a really fantastic music program. Some people have gotten into ancient instruments like clavichords and harpsichords and kind of live an ancient life style of the Middle Ages. EMU has great voice instructors and a community music school as well.
What I think is needed are salary subsidies for industries that may be physically demanding or high skill low pay like manufacturing or skilled trades. We need more pensions and in general “governmental salary subsidies,” to offset wages for teachers and other fields like the non- profit sector etc. We can’t always expect our businesses revolving capital to be the equivalent of our salary necessity.
We need to coach our youth on how to save and build wealth and be a stashaholic for older days while they are young. Young people need to build up 401K’s and pensions, once you’re old it’s too late. You need to stash throughout your youth before you get sick, disabled or suffer from old age. It’s nice to keep an emergency fund or even to start family trusts to cover and smooth some of the bumps of life. It’s really great to stash for children in life insurance policies etc. to build wealth and plan on inheritance.
In general Michigan’s real estate is affordable and diverse. I think we could use more architects to tear down some older properties and old ghettos and rebuild nice areas. I found “over building” and adding onto houses or developing properties or lands to be nice and viable. Add a pool, add some tile work, add an out building-value the property, make it historic even, make it creative, add a dance studio that is maybe just an empty room can be high lux.
I find when your building to think about your education, educating your children, your creativity, and your fitness. You can build a track around your property line. You can install for $20,000-$30,000 a pool, you can put in tennis courts or buy a boat and a cheap boat you can get are kayaks or canoes that fit on cars or in garages? It’s not hard to live really, really good and even cheap. Find boat launches or memberships at marinas figure out how to tap into our nature for a beautiful life.
It’s nice to collect cookbooks and build your library. Buy Amazon gift cards for children, students and everyone to buy books are nice way to give during back to school or for the holidays. Also planning around the calendar: nice sporting events and tail gating or in house versions with appetizers, big holidays, vacations, retreats, rent a cottage, birthdays, dinner parties, time alone, teaching time, reading- time start a box of books to take to the cottage, nature walks, camping, BBQ’s, family reunions, Mexican Fiestas, Christmas parties, cocktail parties, kids sleep overs, cocoa parties, disco nights, fire side sing alongs, full moon parties, caroling, pilgrimages, spiritual times, fasting, keep track of old friends, trip with a friend, cruise, renew vows, anniversaries, traditions, go out to favorite restaurants every year same time, pool parties, parks, plays and favorite theaters, concerts, playing music with friends, recitals, annual performances, playing games or cards, scrabble night, kiddie cocktail hour, read poems with writer friends, exhibitions, private film screenings, non profit events, Oktoberfest etc.
Michigan is great! Getting older in Michigan is fantastic. Also hats off to our neighbors that we utilize like Chicago, Ohio and Canada. Love Michigan, build Michigan, have a good life.