The Joy Project

Yesterday, a very kind man asked me to name three things recently that have brought me joy. I was a bit down in the dumps (to put it very, very mildly), it wasn’t an out of the blue question.

I paused.

“My son. My kids. They bring me joy. They’re so funny, if you just listen to them and their funny little ways, the questions they ask, the gratefulness for small things (sometimes), the kids, they laugh so much. They bring me joy.”

He nodded, and gestured for me to carry on.

“And… The day before yesterday I found a tiny white feather on the ground. My son spotted it and said it was a feather from Grandad. He said Grandad left it there for him so he would know he was still with him. He’s four. He’s lost a lot in his short life, he seems to have a pretty good handle on dealing with loss, gosh, more so than his mother. We sat down on the pavement, outside a car garage, and said hello to Grandad. We talked about him, his big smile, and then we picked up that feather and tucked it right inside the smallest pocket of Small Boy’s coat, so he could have Grandad with him wherever he goes.”

“Outdoors. The outdoors brings me joy. Birdsong. Tiny little buds on trees. A baby daffodil struggling through the soil at the base of a tree. Unexpected bursts of colour. Any purple or blue flowers. Hydrangea bushes. Brightly coloured front doors. The green parakeets that have made my neighbourhood their home. Sparrows hopping around on the grass. Swans on the lake. The lake in general. The river. Outdoors, brings me joy.”

He nodded again. And I decided, right there, that I was going to start a new, very simple project. I’m going to find and document things that bring me joy. Counting my blessings, if you like. Partly to help with my ‘black dog’, the anxiety, the panic and fear that seems to have caught up with me lately (see the ‘I can’t even open my own front door’ article). Partly to remind myself in my busy days to pause and take a moment to savour joyful things. Partly to share the joy with you, my lovely readers. I’m just snapping things on my phone as I go about my day to day life, saving them in a folder, and I’ll share them here on my blog. Sometimes life can be so busy and the days so full and the deadlines so imminent and the abuse so torrential and the time flies so fast and there’s so much to do…but in the words of William Henry Davis: “A poor life this, if full of care; We have no time to stand and stare.”

Go and find joy. Wherever you are. Whoever you are. The past few weeks have been some of the blackest, bleakest that I can ever remember, and I’m pulling myself slowly out of it, by indulging in some pockets of joy.

Jack Monroe. I’m on Twitter and Instagram @MsJackMonroe and Facebook at

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