People flocked to Hill Auditorium this past Saturday to celebrate the Michigan Bicentennial. Alumni from over the years came to speak at about where their maize and blue foundation took them. At the tribute, we saw appearances from Darren Criss, Sanjay Gupta, Cecilia Muñoz, and many more reputable names. (James Earl Jones unfortunately could not attend because of health reasons, but a video of him reading an excerpt from “Death of a Salesman” in place of his absence.) Each wolverine shared a little about his or her life today and their success after attending Michigan. Between distinguished alums, UM organizations like vocals from the dashing Friars filled the air with sound. Another part of the tribute included nostalgic stories that were accompanied by slideshows of places that were prevalent in Ann Arbor culture years ago when most of the audience was in school here. Some of the places like Zingerman’s are still just as popular. Throughout the whole show, there was an undoubted sense of pride and achievement within everyone in the room. It’s great to be a Michigan Wolverine. We rock. Look at all we have accomplished?
Amongst all the pride and the excitement, something was quiet.
I told one of my best friends that I’d attended the bicentennial tribute. I told him about all the famous people and their achievements, about how impressed I was, about the work I have to do to keep up with their success, about how cool their lives are. In return, he asked me, “did any of them mention being happy?”
Come to think of it, not one person mentioned “happy.” Success, yes. However, happiness cannot be defined by success. Success is defined by happiness. It’s easy to get swept away by the fortune one career offers, but remember to stay in touch with yourself as you make decisions about your future.