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Let Me Share Two Moments of Pure Joy

By Ann Richardson October 11, 2023 Mindset

What brings us pure joy? There are so many things that money will buy – a foreign cruise, a new car with all mod cons or lots of bling.

You can have all that.

I recently had two moments of pure joy, which cost not a cent. Each made me a very happy woman.

Street Singing

Last week, I was walking briskly in a nearby area on my way to get a Covid injection. It was a very grey day – as only London can be – and life felt rather dull.

Then I rounded a corner and suddenly there was singing. I thought someone had their radio on very loud and almost felt annoyed. People can be so thoughtless in this way.

But as I got closer, I realised it was a woman singing, with a loud tape recorder of some kind providing the accompaniment. She was singing ‘Imagine’, a beautiful song on any day, but especially a grey one.

And then I realised that she was very, very good. When the song called for gentleness, she caressed the notes. When it called for strength, she gave it her all. She had a powerful but also sweet voice.

The Power of Music

I went to look, to see what she looked like. She was not glamorous. You would not pick her out in a crowd. She was wearing any old clothes with a dull raincoat and was of indeterminate age – perhaps in her 40s or so.

But, hey, could she sing! There was a huddle of people around her, listening and – perhaps like me – being taken to another place.

I wanted to stay, to remain part of the spell. But I had the appointment for my injection, so I moved on.

But I was singing ‘Imagine’ in my own head. And it continued for much of the day.

London was no longer grey.

Toddler in the Swimming Pool

And some weeks ago, I was at my local pool, just finishing my allotted laps, when I heard a lot of giggling. I looked around to see a tiny girl with her father, playing in the water and chatting and clearly having a lovely time.

She was simply gorgeous. Probably of Indian or Pakistani origin, but I didn’t ask. She had a very small and graceful frame and beautiful big eyes.

Her father was a well-built man in his 30s, with an improbable ponytail down his back. He was totally involved with helping her to swim.

I went nearer and watched for a while. I asked her father how old she was, and he said ‘two’, but she looked even younger.

She saw me watching and said “look – doggy paddle” and promptly performed exactly that. Complete with a huge smile on her face.

The Joy of Jumping in Water

Then, with her father’s help, she climbed out of the water, stood on the edge of the pool and looked down at him. To my surprise, she immediately jumped right in, although the water was well over her head.

I was worried she would come up weeping, with water in her eyes and nose. That is what would have happened to me at her age.

No, she came up laughing. Her father was right there for her, of course.

I suggested to him that she was a ‘natural’. He said you couldn’t get him out of the water when he was her age. ‘A natural, then’, I repeated.

And then she did it again. Climbed out, jumped in with a big splash, and bobbed up with a laughing face. What unadulterated joy.

Happiness All Day

She made me feel so joyful myself, again, I wanted to stay. But I was late for lunch and had to get moving. I waved good-bye, got myself dressed and walked home.

But, again, I felt good all day.

Give me an exuberant little girl, or a soulful song, and all my troubles vanish.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Have you had any recent moments of pure joy? What was the cause? Did it affect your mood for the rest of the day?

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I often stop to listen to violinists or people playing classical cello.abd Spanish guitar in my city centre, it is quite uplifting.

Unfortunately I find Imagine an incredibly depressing song. Not my cup of tea at all.


Linda, I second that with “Imagine”…. unfortunately the real world is NOT as imagined.


What an absolutely beautiful article. Thank you for this!

Robin A Berrie

What a lovely positive story, thanks for sharing!

Margaret Barnes-DelColle

I’m going to look for two things today that give me joy!


A good reminder for us to notice the world around us. Something people do less and less now that their faces are focused on screens even while walking down the street. It’s the simple things in life that can bring us joy, make us smile and help us feel connected to humanity.

The Author

Ann Richardson’s most popular book, The Granny Who Stands on Her Head, offers a series of reflections on growing older. Subscribe to her free Substack newsletter, where she writes fortnightly on any subject that captures her imagination. Ann lives in London, England with her husband of sixty years. Please visit her website for information on all her books:

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