Monthly Musing – September 2015 – Belonging

We’re very sociable creatures, us humans. We like to fit in, we like to belong, and it’s good for our well-being. I hadn’t really thought too much about this in recent years, and certainly not from my own point of view. My girls have variously belonged to youth clubs and forums, Brownies, sports clubs and music groups and that’s something that we actively encourage our children to do so that they broaden our horizons, meet new friends and develop their skills.

For too many adults, though, that’s something that gets forgotten as we get older. It wasn’t until over the last year when I’ve got involved with a couple of knit ‘n’ natter groups that I’ve been reminded of just how powerful the act of belonging actually is. We spend time with like-minded people, we become involved in a communal activity, and we have the opportunity to have conversations outside of those that we would normally have. Our horizons are broadened once more and our well-being tanks are topped up.

I don’t think that it matters what sort of group you belong to (although one that lifts people up rather than pulling them down is obviously the most beneficial); I think it is the act of belonging that is the important thing. So what if you aren’t the best golfer in the club? If you enjoy being on the course in the fresh air in the company of other golfers, that’s the main thing. Your skill level at whatever you do is largely irrelevant, in my opinion. As long as you are doing something that you love to do then your well-being is automatically improved. And that is where I think the magic happens. Once our wellbeing improves, suddenly it opens up other doors in our lives. I know of people who found the courage to return to studying years after they left school, fulfilling a life-long ambition. I know of people who, after spending too much time on their own and afraid to socialise, became able to hold conversations with people they would never have dreamed of talking to – and just because they felt that they belonged.

We never like to think that our children are being left out at school and yet we seem to be happy in our older years being on our own. Left to our own devices or left out? I’m sure that sometimes the answer is both, and only we can decide whether that makes us happy or not. From my own experience, being in the company of others who enjoy doing something that I also like to do, and have experience, knowledge and passion for the activity to share is something that I had not realised I was missing until it became a part of my life. Our well-being tanks can never be too full, but they can be too empty and I believe it’s important to do something about that while we can.


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14 Responses

  1. Jo says:

    I think you're right. My friends don't really share my hobbies but being on an allotment site gives me people to chat to about my gardening hobby. I really must do something about finding a knit and natter group to go to though. I think blogs are a great way of interacting with people who share your hobby but it doesn't give you a real life interaction, it's the next best thing though.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I agree; blogs and online groups aren't the same as face to face contact, but in the absence of anything else, they're certainly very useful! And I love being able to see parts of the world that I never knew existed through online sites! 🙂 xx

  2. Christina says:

    What an interesting post Christine. I was thinking along those lines yesterday when we had a BBQ for my husband's birthday. At the end, when most people had gone, our camping friends remained for a while longer. I feel very much at ease with this particular group of friends, I belong. I have become much more active socially than I was when I was younger, maybe because I feel more content with myself and I am not that worried about not fitting in. Have a lovely week. xx

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I definitely agree that being older brings more confidence and less concerns about fitting in – but it can also be harder sometimes for some people to make that first step to join in. Seems that you can't win, sometimes! xx

  3. VeggieMummy says:

    Such a thoughtful post. I'm off to a stitching workshop next week after a few months absence – hoping to top up my well being tanks! Have a great week. xx

  4. Lilly's Mom says:

    I agree Christine, this is a very thought provoking post you have written. A sense of belonging is so vital at least to me. Since I lost my church family, I have gained my blog friend family. I hope your week is of to a wonderful start. My best to you, Pat xx

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I think that's really interesting that you swapped one "family" for another Pat – both probably very different but still fulfilling the need for belonging. I guess it's also true that as we change over the years then our belonging requirements change as well xx

  5. Penny says:

    Hmmm. Very interesting post Christine, and very pertinent. I find as I get a bit older that I am in some ways less inclined to socialise, being very absorbed in home and family matters. It takes more effort I think as we get older to be open to new friendship groups. Yet it is very important. I like the sound of knit-and -natter groups, I may google to see if there are any near me! X

  6. susan says:

    What a wonderful post. I'm going to take a knitting class nearby and then join their weekly knit and sip group. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      That's brilliant, Susan! Isn't a "knit and sip" group a lovely name for it? Be warned though – you might not get too much knitting done because you're doing so much sipping and nattering! 🙂 xx

  7. Lina says:

    This is so true! It's wonderful to hobby with a group. Most of my knitting friends are from all over (although I do have a few here in the same city) so we try to get together 1-2 times a year for a long weekend of knitting, drinking and laughing. It really does fill up my wellness tank. 🙂

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