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Are we merely sitting in the future’s waiting room?

October 15, 2020
clock 3 MIN READ

A friend shared a poem with me recently that really inspired me. (If my siblings are reading this post, they are asking themselves, “Who is this poetic imposter and what has he done with our brother?”)

Admittedly, I am not big on poems. Truth be told, they actually intimidate me a little. I never really got the hang of how to read them or analyze them, and so that fear stopped me from engaging. This fear goes back to high school, but in more recent years, I have begun to read some poetry thanks to my kids sharing some of their favorites or writing their own. Don’t tell them, but kids can teach their parents a thing or two every now and then.

As an adult different things scare me. If I’m being honest, I’m more scared of spiders than I am of poems these days. (Progress!) Still, I do not seek poetry out a lot. However, when my friend shared this poem with me it ignited my senses and for that, I say thank you friend. Full disclosure, this poem was on YouTube and included imagery, so I did not have to read, I just had to listen and reflect. The technology helped me engage, making it pretty effortless. 

The poem is, “Something Clicked” by Simon Armitage, and it was recently shared in the U.K. in honor of National Poetry week. This one got me, making me seriously reflect on its deeper meaning that so many of us can relate to as we navigate 2020 and beyond. I wanted to share my thoughts and reflections:

  • “Something Clicked” is about the new world brought to us by COVID-19. 
  • Unlike so much of what we read and watch, it focuses on the upside, not the downside of the new world we are living in.
  • COVID-19 has created an inflection point that is actually an awakening of the senses. 
  • The poet, Armitage, is challenging us to see all the good that has come as a result of the “pause.”  
  • I wonder if it is ok to find good in something that has wreaked havoc with so many.
  • It’s brought substantial change to all of us. We did not bring about the change, but it has to be dealt with.
  • Armitage is asking, “How are you dealing?”
  • He is asking us to think about all the good things that happened: no commute, learning to cook, spending time with family
  • He views change as energy, something to ignite us.
  • Can we take ownership of the inflection point, and reframe it around what good is possible?
  • The future will be different, but as one of the line suggests we need to get out of “future’s waiting room.”
  • We now have a responsibility to create the future we want.
  • As he profoundly states in the end “you are your own greatest invention.”

Most major societal inflection points come with great opportunity. The opportunity is hard to see in the moment, but so easy to see when you read about them in history. So while some are talking about getting back to normal, this poem caused me to ask what new normal I will create.

Give yourself a break today. Take a few minutes, close your eyes and listen to “Something Clicked” — then think about what clicks for you in the process. Enjoy.

Albert Chiaradonna

Executive Vice President, SEI Global Private Banking

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