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Rita Duffy: What brings me joy?

21 Dec 2020 | Written by Rita Duffy

Rita Duffy, member of The Joy Club, tells us what brings her joy

My name is Rita Ann Duffy, I’m a fairly active 71 year old, and I love being with caring people, swimming, the woods in Highgate, museums and some art galleries.  

Sometimes I worry too much – about almost everything! This also motivates me to be more active and creative.


What a year 2020 has been. The lows and highs – emotions flowing from tears at the saddest of moments for all the suffering that people have endured, to the ultimate joy found in hope and coming together for the future. 

I personally went through some extraordinary experiences in the first lockdown. It felt surreal, maybe because I was eager to understand why this was happening. I looked back to the Spanish flu to get some clarity, searching for information, finding parallels with my own family’s emotions and their views. “Yes, we will be fine” became my mantra, but there were days when it did not always seem to work…luckily, we have all been well so far! 

As we emerge from the second lockdown, the mishandling of the pandemic becomes more real.  

The country is sad about so many things, yet we have a vaccine on the way which should bring us so much relief. We want to believe it will work and us elders will be the first to be offered it. I want to be able to do so – to believe it will work! 

More joy – I did manage to go swimming, one of the things I used to do (there it is “used to do”… so many times I have thought of what we “used to do”.. but never mind that!). Live now – today – it’s very hard when we are so ‘restrained’.

I must admit, the most joy I get is from my family; being with them encourages me to be braver. 

One of the brightest and most joyous things in my life is my beautiful four year-old granddaughter, who at the very beginning of the pandemic nudged us all to wash our hands, and like all children “reminding us to live in the moment!”  

My hope for the future is that us elders ALL feel and act on living in the now, embracing faith in the future. 

Nowadays, when we meet strangers and share a smile, we acknowledge that we all have had a difficult time.  

But my heart goes out to all the people who do not have their family around. Sometimes I do wish I had the get up and go to help out there – to be part of the selfless.  

I must admit I have not been very creative during the past year. I have had some wonderful ideas… but that’s where they’ve stayed! I cannot worry about that too much; I know it will happen eventually. I am sure a lot of people have felt like that.  

My biggest lesson from 2020 is that we all need some help from other people. Everywhere we see it – even if we are just out shopping – we must remember to always live in the now and open up your hearts.

Where next?

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03 Sep 2021