Giving funny retirement advice in your retirement speech can add interest and sparkle, but the content and your speech should reflect your personality. You should feel under no compulsion to use jokes, quotes or poems. They are not essential to an entertaining speech. Don’t try it if you are not confident of your ability to do it well.
There is a commercial on Television these days which shows a gentleman, apparently just returned from his office retirement party, walking through the front door and saying to his wife: Honey, I'm home ... forever!
Imagine the look on his wifes face. And what does he have to look forward to? Happiness? Joy? Relief? The end of a working life! Perpetual unemployment! Deterioration! Stagnation! Decay!
Luckily, most of you people - especially homemakers-dont have that problem. You never retire. But for all career men and women, my advice is: Avoid retirement as you would poison ivy in a nudist camp.
By retirement I mean the sudden stoppage of work, going from the dynamic career to the doldrums, from vigor to vegetation.
If you are seriously thinking about quitting your job, and have no ready replacement for it, permit me to offer you several practical suggestions: One, dont quit! Two, keep busy! And three, dont look back!
First of all, dont quit! Maggie Kuhn, the founder of the Grey Panthers organisation, once said: Ours is a throwaway society, and we do it with people as well as machines.
Unfortunately, sometimes we do it ourselves, when we quit work prematurely. How often have you heard about men and women having heart attacks, shortly after retiring? Why? Because not infrequently, the retirement itself is more stressful than the work it was supposed to replace.
If I had my say, every pension check would carry a warning: This retirement may be hazardous to your health.
My second point is a corollary to the first: keep busy! You've got to keep working, one way or another. You've got to have a goal in life in order to survive.
There are a number of options available: employment, leisure, volunteerism...take your pick.
If you choose employment, why not become a management consultant-like everyone else. All it takes is a title, a phone number and 500 business cards.
If you need a title, be imaginative. I know an auto mechanic who is now a vehicle maintenance engineer. He repairs my Toyota - and drives a Mercedes.
If you need a degree, thats simple for you Toastmasters. All you have to do is complete the Basic Communication and Leadership Manual, and put CTM (Competent Toastmaster) behind your name. For all anyone knows, CTM means Master of Computer Technology, and thats pretty important these days.
Another way to keep busy is by what I call purposeful leisure. Too often people think of leisure as the absence of work. Nonsense! Its productive labour. Do you realise how much green fees and golf cart fees, for example, contribute to the gross national product? Billions! You golfers out there, men and women, tell your spouses that when you get up at four oclock in the morning.
The best way to keep busy, of course, is by volunteer service. There must be a hundred thousand organisations out there that could use your help right now. They wont discriminate against you because of your grey hair-or the lack of it, you grey panthers and bald eagles.
If you run out of ideas, try coordinating Speechcraft and Youth Leadership, the finest programs ever invented, for the training of the young - of all ages, and I might add, for the rejuvenation of jaded Toastmasters.
Which brings me to my third point: dont look back! James M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan, once wrote: God gave us memories, so that we could have roses in December. Roses, not regrets. Nursing homes are filled with people who cling to their regrets like security blankets.
Dont look back and look down. Life isnt a vicious circle. Its a rising spiral, a cornucopia of opportunities. (Grandma Moses, Buckminster Fuller, Col. Sanders, Pablo Casals and our own Cavett Robert and Roy Graham are models of geriatric initiative.)
Pablo Casals at 90, for example, when asked why he practiced eight hours a day, replied: I think I'm improving.
Just last week I heard of a Toastmaster who spent his first Social Security check on lessons in hang gliding. Thats the spirit!
What it all adds up to is this: we cant quit. We cant retire from life. Its too precious. We've got to keep working, whether for money, fun or glory. And above all we mustn't look back.
Its never too late to learn-to grow-to create, to do all the wonderful things we had no time for in our youth. This is what the last third of life is about.
Its a time of discovery, when we really begin to see, perhaps for the first time, the providence of God, the love of family, friends and neighbours-even Toastmasters-and sometimes we even catch a glimpse of our own potential...still...to do great deeds.
Life, my friends, is not a candle flickering in the breeze. Its a torch to light new flames.
Roy was 77 at the time he gave this funny retirement advice. I have found his poignant and funny retirement advice to be a wonderful retirement gift to all who have read it since. I hope you enjoy it! This sample Retirement speech is reprinted here with the permission of Toastmaster International Magazine.
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