The Solar Eclipse, Ian Bennett Day, and the Power of Live Experiences

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Earlier this week, much of the world looked to the sky in a rare moment of collective awe at the eclipse passing overhead. I know I wasn’t the only one who felt deeply moved by it. You could feel a collective sense of warmth and wonder. The tops of buildings in urban areas were full of spectators while rural fields were bustling with those seeking the best possible view. As the moon passed in front of the sun, news clips showed people crying, hugging, and reflecting on the scale of the universe. It was a unifying, beautiful moment for so much of our planet at a time when we really needed it.

17 years ago this week, our agency tragically lost one of our team members Ian Bennett at the young age of 26. Ian was the first person I hired at Situation. He was a talented designer, generous collaborator, and loyal friend.

As I stood watching the eclipse darken the deep blue sky, I thought of Ian. Given this is the week of his passing, I couldn’t help but also think of his family and his legacy. Those memories in the context of the meteoric moment were moving —  it’s hard to explain the how or why… it just was.

The images captured during the eclipse reveal more than just a celestial event; they depict a tapestry of human emotion – tears of joy, embraces of wonder, and reflections on the profound beauty of the universe. In a world often fragmented by division and discord, the eclipse served as a poignant reminder of our shared humanity and interconnectedness. If you ask me (or Forbes Senior Contributor Jack Kelly), this special moment was more than worth the reported “productivity loss.”

As moving as the eclipse was, I believe its greatest benefit should be the reminder of the impact that live experiences have on our souls and our community at large. It shouldn’t take a once-in-a-lifetime eclipse to take a moment to experience the beauty that is all around us every day.

In honor of Ian, since his passing, we close our offices early each year and ask the people in our lives to stop working for a few hours to “do something you love with someone you love.” It is an homage to the importance of sharing live experiences with loved ones and an opportunity to reflect on the importance of community. We call this “Ian Bennett Day” and we’ll be celebrating it this week, on Friday.

So if you’re able, I hope you will join us in participating in “Ian Bennett Day” this Friday. Visit a new park, see a live show, go to a museum, volunteer for a cause you’re passionate about, or take your dog for an extended walk — the opportunities are endless. It’s also a good moment to reach out to someone you think might need some love.

Whatever you do — just do something. I promise you won’t regret it.

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