“The world is too much with us”

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;

This is the beginning of the William Wordsworth poem, “The World is Too Much With Us.” I think of it at this time of year, when we are all getting and spending our way through the holiday season. But the phrase that really echoes with me is not the getting and spending, it is “we lay waste our powers.” I think we all are so wrapped up in our own particular routines (we might even say rat races), that we lose sight of the larger picture, and our larger purpose. We need to stop once in a while and ask ourselves why we are doing what we are spending all our time accomplishing. Has it ceased to have meaning? Are we too often just going through the motions?

We have the power to make changes, to adjust course, to recalibrate our goals, be they career goals or personal goals. We also have the power to affect change in the lives of others, or in the institutions of which we are a part. My end-of-the-year wish is that you take some time over the holidays to re-assess your goals and to exercise, not waste, your powers. Best wishes to all for a wonderful holiday season, and the year ahead.

Author: Patricia Rose

Patricia Rose is the Director of Career Services at the University of Pennsylvania.