Ageing Well Ageing Well, Living Well Over 50s Lifestyle

Finding Joy during times of negativity and sadness

March 22, 2020
Finding Joy

Life can be serendipitous at times can’t it? My next guest in the Ageing Well, Living Well series is my very good blogging friend, Debbie Harris from Deb’s World. When Deb sent her post to me a few weeks ago I had it scheduled to be published today. Little did we both know that since she wrote her article, the world has been thrown into chaos, confusion and panic with the onset of the COVID-19 Corona virus.

Whilst Deb wrote her thoughts before the pandemic, it is perfect timing because we do need some help finding joy in these difficult times. Deb has been going through some very difficult times over the last year and it was lovely to catch up with her recently for a more joyous occasion – the birth of her grandson. I hope Deb’s thoughts provide some support to you and don’t forget to pop over and visit her blog to say ‘hello’

Finding Joy during times of negativity and sadness

Thanks, Sue, for the opportunity to share my thoughts on Ageing Well, Living Well with you and your readers. It’s always a pleasure to join you. I think you are such an inspirational and caring friend to have.

Random thoughts on negativity, sadness and joy

I went to a funeral this week for a friend’s mother, who was 92 and passed away quickly and painlessly.  Despite her age it was still a sad occasion, especially for my friend and her family.

Among the lovely tributes, was this constant message –

June did not have a bad word to say about anyone.

To have lived for 92 years and be known for not saying a bad word about anyone filled me with deep sadness. 

Sadness for the world today.

It seems to be all too easy for negativity to fester these days, we are encouraged to be kind and caring but just look at the comments on news stories, social media, newspapers, magazines – people are all too quick to jump in with negative, mean, nasty comments. 

They will tell you they are just sharing their opinion and have the right to do so, but are they merely sharing their opinion? In many cases they are making mean derogatory comments, about a person or an issue they know little about. I have been involved in this situation this week and it was awful.

All it does, for me anyway, is turn me off reading any further and makes me feel jaded and sad.

The phrase Haters Gonna Hate comes to mind.


Haters gonna hate is an informal way to express consolation, voice encouragement, or dismiss criticism. The phrase implies that criticism says more about the critic, or “hater,” than the person being criticized, i.e., that they are making judgements out of jealousy or their own negativity.


One of my mother’s favourite sayings to us as children, and even now, is

“If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all”. 

Maybe more people these days need to be reminded of these words of wisdom.

Constant negativity can take its toll on our mental health and we need to be aware of it. 

It’s not a matter of being positive all the time but being aware of the effects of being inundated by negative, rude and dismissive comments and stories. Turning off from the world isn’t an option so we need to have some boundaries in place.

I’ve always been a sensitive person and I’m finding as I get older, I take things to heart even more.  Maybe I’m not as confident as I like to think I am, maybe I’m pretending at times that all is well when it’s not. 

I know I’ve been upset lately at injustices, discussions on the changing climate, local government issues but I don’t want to become a grumpy old lady, so I have to balance this out with some fun stuff. 

That’s where my quirkiness comes in. My love of jumping in puddles, jumping for joy, telling funny stories but laughing before I get to the punch line, blogging for fun and sharing inspirational quotes, wearing lots of orange, being excitable and enthusiastic!

I found a great phrase for us midlifers recently – JOY – which stands for Just Older Youth.  I think it’s a Japanese saying that applies to over 65-year olds and even though I’m not quite 60 yet, I’ll still include myself in this group! 

Isn’t it perfect? Rather than being a Grumpy old Lady I’ll happily be a JOY J

As Brene Brown says:

Joy is the most vulnerable emotion we experience. Joy comes to us in ordinary moments.  We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary. 

Finding Joy

And this:

A joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together.

And so I have turned from being sad and negative into being joyful.

But I still wish there were more people in the world like my friend’s mother, those who never say a bad word about another person, because that would bring joy to the world!

Thanks for having me.

Deb x

Meet Debbie

Debbie is an award winning Australian midlife, travel, adventure and lifestyle blogger who has a smile named after her – the ‘Debbie Smile’.

A young retiree, after being made redundant from her 22 year career of managing educational programs for inmates in a men’s correctional centre, she thought she’d have loads more time for reading, cycling, blogging and travelling, but she’s discovering that life is busier than ever! Whether it’s book club, movie club, volunteering with Rotary and Rotary Youth Exchange programs or simply catching up with friends, life is never dull when Debbie is around!

Connect with Debbie


Women Living Well After 50

Living Life Your Way


  • Reply Michele Somerville March 22, 2020 at 06:41

    Thank you Debbie and Sue, I enjoy following both of your blogs and this is certainly perfectly timed, for several reasons. Not only the political climate in my own country, the world situation and this virus. The other day there was a venomous, hateful comment left here anonymously and I was shocked. Then, I wondered if it was someone who had followed me in somehow and I was afraid to respond at all. Does this happen often? I had a similar experience the first time I boosted my blog on Facebook, but it was not anon and it wasn’t quite as violent. ugh. Thank you for your writings and words of wisdom. There is a vulnerability to this writing, yes?

    • Reply Debbie Harris March 22, 2020 at 07:55

      Hi Michele, thanks for your thoughtful comment here and I’m sorry to hear you have been the subject of awful comments, it is very upsetting and really throws you. To date my blog hasn’t had any hateful comments, thank goodness, and much is caught in spam before it gets published. I agree there is a vulnerability in writing and sharing our thoughts but it also makes the world a more human place and we need to continue sharing our words. Take care and thanks again for your following of my blog and joining in with your comments x

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 23, 2020 at 06:40

      At times like these Suzanne we do find that it can bring out the worst in people. I have had some very negative comments from one person in particular but I have the power because I can delete them and block them if necessary. It doesn’t happen very often thank goodness and yes it can be upsetting but as I say just press delete and focus on the positive comments from readers who appreciate your words. Have a lovely day and take care. Stay healthy! x

  • Reply Donna Connolly March 22, 2020 at 07:45

    Hi, Deb. It’s nice to see you here. Crazy times, isn’t it?! I love the tribute that you quoted about your friend’s mother.
    What better tribute could be said? (And what a wonderful quality for all of us to strive toward!)

    • Reply Debbie Harris March 22, 2020 at 07:57

      Hi Donna, lovely to have your thoughts and crazy is indeed the right word for the world right now. I agree the tribute to my friend’s mother was just perfect and said it all about a life well lived. You are a great friend to have and I wish you and your family well during the days ahead. x

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 23, 2020 at 06:41

      Hi Donna, as you said it would be wonderful if we all worked towards having that quality and keeping it front and centre in our lives. Take care my friend but I know that you and Richard are taking a positive approach to the chaos happening at the moment. xx

  • Reply Debbie Harris March 22, 2020 at 07:50

    Thanks so much for having me as a guest today Sue and I agree the timing is perfect! I am seeing some of my good friends consumed with panic and being so aggressive in their approach to others, who may not see things the way they do. They are like volcanoes ready to erupt and I fear for their health, both mental health and physical health. I think there will be a lot to get through in the next few months and we all need to retain some sense of calm in any way we can. I enjoyed writing this for you a few weeks ago and am thankful to have you and other bloggers around the world in my corner. We need to support each other as much as we can. xx

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 23, 2020 at 06:45

      Hi Deb it is always my pleasure to have you as a guest and I can’t believe how timely your post was considering the time lapse from when you sent it to me. It must have been meant to be published this weekend. I have to say I’m not letting the sensationalism of the media evoke panic in my life. I’m keeping informed, taking precautions and for me that is sufficient. I can understand though the people who are concerned about the affect on them if they lose their job or the pressure on families if schools close. I simply do not understand though the attitude of people ‘panic buying’. We all need to stop, breathe and focus on supporting each other rather than taking the selfish path. Thank you for being my guest but more importantly my friend. xx

  • Reply Suzanne March 22, 2020 at 10:46

    Hi Deb and Sue

    I had a giggle to myself when I read “If you haven’t anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. Well, that was easier said than done when you have a brother annoying the hell out of you. Fun family times 🙂 Funnily enough we as siblings are supporting each other with funny childhood memories via a private chatroom. Spending time sharing childhood memories was not something we regularly did before our wings were clipped.

    Take care, enjoy the small things [foraging for feijoas this morning for me] and be kind X

    • Reply Debbie Harris March 22, 2020 at 13:31

      Great advice Suz! Yes we all appreciate those childhood memories once we get older don’t we?? We are staying in touch with family in the same way. Wishing you both well xx

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 23, 2020 at 06:47

      Hi Suzanne, the current situation has certainly made us think more creatively about how to stay connected when in self-isolation. It is ironic though that we have to have something like this crisis to bring us all back to simple things and what really matters in life. There are positives to be found even if the negatives are more prevalent. Take care xx

  • Reply Miriam March 22, 2020 at 10:49

    Hi Debbie, your late friends mum sounds so much like my own beautiful late mum. She always said that to me and honestly growing up I can’t remember her ever saying a mean word about anyone. It’s a good way to live. Sadly our online world makes it far too easy for people to spread hate, criticism and negativity. Thankfully it also makes it easy to spread the opposite, love, kindness and compassion. And Joy. Just as you have here Deb. I absolutely love that acronym. Exactly what the world needs more of today. Thank you and Sue, both of you, for spreading your own words of joy, kindness and inspiration. Stay safe and well. xx

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 23, 2020 at 06:49

      Hi Miriam, Deb’s post was so timely and certainly meant to be. She had sent it to me weeks ago but I had other posts scheduled in. This weekend was certainly the perfect timing to put the focus on Joy and Kindness. Take care and stay healthy xx

  • Reply Debbie Harris March 22, 2020 at 13:04

    Thanks so much Miriam, your comment brought joy to my anxious mind! It’s so important to stay balanced isn’t it, and to be joyful, especially now! Your mum sounds just as lovely as you 🙂 I’m so pleased you enjoyed reading my guest post and thank you for all your support, it makes the world a much better place knowing there are people like you in it! xx

  • Reply Toni Pike March 22, 2020 at 13:28

    Hi Debby, Thank you so much for bringing some joy into my day. Toni x

    • Reply Debbie Harris March 22, 2020 at 13:29

      My pleasure Toni! Hope all is well with you :). Won’t be over for a visit to Canberra anytime soon unfortunately

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 23, 2020 at 06:51

      That is lovely to hear Toni. Take care and stay healthy xx

  • Reply Leanne | March 22, 2020 at 15:40

    Hi Deb – lovely to see you here on Sue’s blog and sharing something that I think is incredibly important in these uncertain times……the concept that we may not be able to control our circumstances, but we can choose our attitude and response. I’m choosing to be positive, to be kind, to look for the good every chance I get. I choose to ignore the greedy self-serving people who are raiding the supermarkets, and focus on the fact that there is stil plenty for everyone – and people are sharing and caring for those who have less.
    There are a LOT of good people in our world, this isn’t Armageddon, the world isn’t ending, we’ve just become soft and have difficulty dealing with being taken out of our comfort zones – I think it’s a challenge for all of us to rise up and be our best selves – to smile and to care and to show grace to those around us.
    Thanks for the reminder that it’s not just when a virus hits that we need to remember this – it’s every day. 🙂

    • Reply Debbie Harris March 22, 2020 at 17:39

      Hi Leanne, thanks for your thoughtful comment on my guest post. It’s strange that I wrote this a few weeks ago before this situation arose so it shows we need to remember this regardless of what’s happening out there. I’m with you in choosing to be positive and look for the good. A lot of people are outside their comfort zones and it may last for some time. Keep smiling and thanks again for joining in and sharing your thoughts.xx

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 23, 2020 at 06:53

      Hi Leanne, I’m not sure I understand the panic buying mentality or the anxiety which I think is fuelled by the media. I do understand that some would be anxious about their jobs and if schools close however we all need to keep it in perspective. I’m disappointed in the actions of some who are selfish and not thinking about others. We need to work together, support each other and as you say rise up and be our best selves. xx

  • Reply suzanne March 22, 2020 at 23:44

    Deb, I too am highly sensitive and I think that with that comes an attitude of expectancy. Why can’t people just be nice, or fair, or considerate, is something I have asked myself many times. But, what I have concluded is that people who don’t value a relationship with me, or who don’t know me at all, find it easier to stand on principle rather than have a meaningful conversation. Add heightened emotions and internet forums to that and look out! Sure, I want to scream obscenities at idiots, but what does that say about me and how would it change their behavior? Thanks for this timely reminder to be patient and kind. Let’s hope it has a ripple effect.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 23, 2020 at 06:54

      Hi Suzanne I totally agree and yes let’s get a ripple effect going! xx

    • Reply Debbie Harris March 23, 2020 at 19:21

      Thanks Suzanne, it seems I’m not alone in being sensitive and I’m happy to hear that in some ways! I appreciate your comment ands thoughts 🙂

  • Reply Deb March 23, 2020 at 04:16

    It’s horrible how negativity in social media can be contagious isn’t it? I had to take a step back at the beginning of the week, each news report was more worrying than the last, Facebook was full of photos of supermarket shelves being empty, stories of what was no longer available. I’m usually a very positive person and try to find a silver lining in every cloud but I struggled, everywhere I turned it was just negativity. Then I read a post which turned things on their head, the good things that were happening, pollution levels in China being the lowest for many years, canals in Venice running clear water, a quarantine hospital in China closing as it was no longer needed … and it was a little light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s try and concentrate on that, if we all work together and do what is needed and stop stockpiling food and toilet rolls, this too shall pass.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 23, 2020 at 06:56

      Hi Deb, it has been very overwhelming with almost minute by minute media reports of doom and gloom. It is difficult to stay positive in this type of environment but we must take steps to ensure our health and mental well-being are being looked after. There are good things happening in the world and whilst we can’t put our heads in the sand regarding COVID-19 we need to temper it with positivity, love and kindness. Thanks for stopping by to visit and comment on Deb’s post which was very timely. xx

    • Reply Debbie Harris March 23, 2020 at 20:10

      Thanks for your wise words Deb and you are right, there are good things happening we just need to look for them sometimes. The world seems full of negativity at the moment but that’s completely true as you have pointed out! Take care x

  • Reply Terri Webster Schrandt March 23, 2020 at 06:23

    Perfect timing for this post, Sue and Debbie! And, by the way, it is a joy to be associated with you wonderful bloggers! I can’t even watch the news on TV anymore, but I have app alerts from a trusted local news source to give the most relevant news. We REALLY need joy now. Just Older Youth…I can identify with that for sure! I agree, this too, shall pass. You both take good care!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 23, 2020 at 06:57

      Hi Terri, Deb sent me her post a number of weeks ago and it was quite a coincidence that the schedule date to publish was this weekend. It is very timely considering what is happening in the world at the moment. I’m like you and trying to switch off from the sensationalism and tune into trusted news sources which isn’t easy is it? Take care and stay healthy xx

    • Reply Debbie Harris March 23, 2020 at 20:12

      Thanks so much Terri, I’m limiting my daily intake of news for that very reason! I love our blogging community and the support we get from each other, many thanks to you. JOY is a great acronym and many of us can identify with it I’m sure :). Take care and stay well xx

  • Reply Deborah March 23, 2020 at 09:56

    Ah yes, looking for that joy is so important at times like this. I worry I’ll rely on my old crutches of food etc but guess I’m aware of the dangers lurking there, so maybe not.

    I’m tired of negativity towards those who don’t deserve it. The blame game. I’m reading far too much online about the virus but I think it also helps give me a sense of control.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 23, 2020 at 11:48

      I think we have to again do what is right for us Deb to maintain our sanity. For some that is turning off from social media and news and for others it is tuning in. I’m saddened by some and their actions, the ‘everyone person for themselves’ attitude and also the hysteria that get whipped up during these situations. I’m not saying it isn’t real or serious but sometimes I think we just need to take a step back and breathe. Take care and stay well. xx

    • Reply Debbie Harris March 23, 2020 at 20:14

      Thanks for your thoughts Deborah. I think I’ve been reading too much but have cut back and only look at valued sites now. I think after the devastating bushfires, it’s control that we are missing, we have no control over anything it seems and many people will lose jobs and livelihoods.

  • Reply Natalie March 23, 2020 at 11:24

    Hi Deb, It’s nice to see you here. I love the Just Older Youth phrase and your quotes on Joy. It brings me joy that we have a group of positive-thinking bloggers here to bounce our thoughts and ideas. I hope you and your family are all well. Thank you to Sue for this timely post. I hope you and Mike stay well, too. #lifethisweek

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 23, 2020 at 11:42

      Thanks Natalie and I do believe we need to keep positive. I realise that there is much we have to deal with at the moment but we need to inject something good into our lives for our own mental health. Sending best wishes to your and your family xx

    • Reply Debbie Harris March 23, 2020 at 19:20

      Isn’t that a great acronym Just Older Youth Natalie?! I’m so happy to be a part fo a great group of positive thoughtful bloggers too and I learn so much from everyone.

  • Reply jo March 23, 2020 at 11:37

    That would indeed bring more joy into the world. It feels trite to be looking for pieces of joy and cheerfulness at the moment – and it may be overly pollyanna-ish – but it doesn’t follow that because you’re looking for the positive that you’re ignoring reality…it just means that you’re choosing to look for the positive, and that’s why I’m with you on this.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 23, 2020 at 11:43

      Glad to hear it Jo! I don’t think it is sticking our head in the sand to try and keep some positivity in our life. At dark times like what is happening now our mental health can be under so much pressure. We need that ‘light’ in our lives to keep going. Sending you best wishes and stay healthy xx

    • Reply Debbie Harris March 23, 2020 at 19:18

      Thanks Jo, I get your message and agree with you! Take care xx

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee March 23, 2020 at 11:56

    Nice post. Yes, I think in the next month we’ll need to really work on our negativity!!

    • Reply Debbie Harris March 23, 2020 at 19:17

      Thanks Lydia, I agree the next month or two will be huge and we will need all our positivity to get through it. Take care x

  • Reply Sydney Shop Girl March 23, 2020 at 12:37

    Debbie, what beautiful words!

    Thank you for your wisdom. Especially as the world is dealing with all that’s happening right now.

    SSG xxx

    • Reply Debbie Harris March 23, 2020 at 19:16

      Many thanks for your kind words SSG xx Stay safe and take care!

  • Reply Jennifer Jones March 24, 2020 at 12:31

    Hi Deb I really enjoyed reading your guest post and loved hearing about JOY. in these times of so much negative and distressing news it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I’ve decided to do just a once daily catch up of Corona virus news. This allows me to focus on the positive. Sue thanks for inviting Deb to write this post which as it has turned out is very relevant to what we are all experiencing

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 25, 2020 at 09:42

      Hi Jen I think it is such a wise idea to only catch up on news once a day. There is so much doom and gloom it can be easy to fall into a depression can’t it? Deb’s post was very timely that is for sure. Take care xx

    • Reply Debbie Harris March 29, 2020 at 16:18

      Thanks Jennifer I’m happy to read your comment and that my words were relevant to what’s happening around us. I am trying to cut down on news and social media as well at the moment but it’s very hard to do isn’t it? I’m finding it hard to focus on other things and am not sure about blogging but I’m sure I’ll work it out. Take care x

  • Reply Leslie Susan Clingan March 24, 2020 at 13:01

    Deb and Sue, you are both joy personified and I am blessed to know you. I used to seek joy as if it would come my way and fill every moment of my life. Then I realized joy can be found in the ordinary moments of life but can be fleeting. Had never read the Brene Brown quote about a joyful life…but how very accurate. Germ-free hugs to you both.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 25, 2020 at 09:50

      You are so lovely Leslie and I feel the same about you. Joy can be fleeting but we just have to keep trying to find a little each day. Take care and sending you a virtual hug, germ-free as well xx

    • Reply Debbie Harris March 29, 2020 at 16:20

      Germ free hugs back at you gorgeous Leslie! I loved reading your comment and it made me smile :). Joy is all around us and you’re right, ordinary moments are so very important. Take care xx

  • Reply Denyse Whelan March 26, 2020 at 15:05

    Always buoyed by Debbie’s words and how lovely it was to read this post as a guest here on your blog Sue.

    Thank you for linking up for Life This Week. Next week, the optional prompt, is for some, the (Easter) seasonally-based 13/51 Chocolate 30.3.2020. Hope to see you back linking up then too. Denyse.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 27, 2020 at 07:41

      Hi Denyse, Deb’s words were definitely very timely even though she had written them before COVID-19. See you on Monday for the link up xx

    • Reply Debbie Harris March 29, 2020 at 16:16

      Thanks for your kind words Denyse and I’m glad you enjoyed reading it! Take care x

  • Reply Julie March 29, 2020 at 05:02

    I read this at exactly the right time today. I had a bit of a confrontation with a hater today. Asking them to not talk to me about politics or negative things at this time. They got thier feelings hurt in that they feel it’s their obligation to share “facts’ with people. I was letting the whole episode steal my joy today. I’m going to focus the rest of the day on finding joy in the ordinary – love that quote, I hadn’t seen that one before. Thank you!

    • Reply Debbie Harris March 29, 2020 at 16:15

      I’m so glad to hear that Julie and hope you are feeling a bit better now. It’s a hard time for many at the moment isn’t it? We have friends who are so zealous about things that they are driving us all mad and I feel for their health but they won’t stop being negative. Thanks for your comment and take care x

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