By Scott Shephard
June 25, 2014, was my wife, Deb's, last day on the job as president of Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown, SD. At the end of the day, there was a celebration of her accomplishments at LATI and of what lies ahead in her retirement. I had the opportunity to say a few words to the gathering and I talked about about her virtues.
One of Deb's virtues was that she, as this planner might suggest, was very organized and disciplined and was prone to make lists of things to do. In a twist, I (who am not so organized and disciplined) decided to present Deb with a to-do list for her retirement.
Among other things, her list included these simple things:
- Read more
- Travel more
- Sleep more
- Sail more
- Garden more
- Spend more time with our granddaughter, GJ
The last thing on the list was "Lose the Franklin planner," which I think Deb will do. But when I went out to the kitchen this morning I was pleased to find it lying open to her last day on the job, as if to present me with a perfect tableau for this photo.
In my speech I talked about about two opposing views of the purpose of life. One is the idea that "doing is being" and the other that "being is doing." The first suggests that the purpose of life is to accomplish things. "Doers" build bridges, expand college campuses, and most probably own well-kept Franklin planners.
"Be-ers", on the other hand, see the purpose of life differently. They believe life's purpose lies in something more than getting things done. I suggested that they might subscribe to an idea voiced by the author and poet Kahlil Gibran in 1923. He wrote that
I suggested that the good life is a balance of the two, but that my goal was to help Deb become a little less of a "doer" and a little more of a "be-er". I concluded my speech by saying, "Deb, life is a beautiful river. Let's go check it out." I am excited about this next phase of our lives together.