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Sister’s retirement speech by a sister

Ladies and Gentlemen OR Family and friends:

It has been said that life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. We all, I think, recognise a little truth in that. Certainly as we move through our lives the things that surprise us often turn out to be some of the best experiences. Now I can’t quite remember whether my sister was a surprise to me or not. She simply is one of my closest friends and someone who happened along when I suspect I was busy making those other plans.

Growing up we were taught to plan our careers. We were encouraged to work towards our goals and study hard. We practised punctuality, admiring ourselves for it and chastising others for a lack of it. Of course if we were late we always had a very good reason! We learned responsibility and in Anne’s case became the very model of efficiency and productivity. All this she did as naturally as breathing. She earned respect and took a pride in what she did. The worker bee and Anne have a lot in common.

In between all this is the real life story of a woman who found within herself surprises and qualities even she did not know she possessed. They came to her in situations for which she had not planned. They came to her in chance meetings and friendships that arose because of who she was as well as what she did. Those friends and her family gather here today to wish Anne well in her retirement. They want to show her how much she means to them in their lives.

Retirement is, of course, what you make it. It can be a time for floating in a pool or meditation in a monastery. It can be a time when you join a society or become part of a pressure group. Anne, I am sure, has her own ideas on what she will do with all her spare time. We want to wish her well for all the marvellous surprises that await her now she is free to do as she pleases.

We wish her well because of who she is and because we know that she still will surprise herself. The great bonus of retirement is that she now has all her worldly experience to draw from. Perhaps most importantly she has the friends who have become close to her as she moved through the years. Everything else now slips away; the lack of sleep, the irritation, the pressures of the working world. From now on Anne, only do what you feel is right. Put aside the plans for a while and allow yourself simply to be.

Tonight for example Anne you are definitely the party girl and that’s how it should be. Work is done and it’s time for having fun. We are glad for you and, let’s be honest about this, we envy you.

Family and friends please join me in a toast to a very special sister on this very special occasion. May her future be filled with love and laughter and may she find contentment in her ever after. Anne!

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