a thing about belonging

I just got back from holidaying abroad, and I recently spent five days in a beautiful hotel resort with some family friends. I’ve been to this place eight times before; we visit almost annually. The first times I went, I was about seven years old, and I now look forward to this trip all year round. As well as it being my favourite place in the world, I also love the group we go with; there’s eleven of us, five adults and six children. We have started a tradition, and there’s just something about tradition that’s so . . . warming, if that makes sense.

A group of us all climbing into bed early in the morning, with our rooibos teas and coffees; this has gone on year after year, with us growing too big for just one double bed, but squeezing in nonetheless. Sitting on the beach as the sun set, with wine for the adults and cool drinks for the young’uns (a very big deal to child-me, who was usually limited to water and orange squash). And every year, we would collect cowries on the beach, as many as we could find. I think we were told as children that cowries were rare, and from that moment on they were like gold to us. But now, the value comes from the tradition. Tradition and words spoken to young, spongy minds. That’s what causes us, fully grown almost-adults, to scour the beach for tiny shells that we know will be lost as soon as we’re home. I have found nine cowries this holiday.


It feels slightly odd, that I am now old enough to reflect on this; this is a place for childish games and filling yourself with buffet food four times a day, not the nostalgic nonsense bouncing around in my head. But when my friend Emily (who is my wonderful redheaded companion on these holidays, and more of a sister than a friend) turned to me and said don’t you feel old?, my answer was yes, most definitely. I’m sure she meant it as a throwaway comment, whilst we watched the littlest kids dashing around the poolside, like we once did. But it was enough to send me deep into thought.

A decade or so changes everyone, but I feel that the difference is most clear in the oldest of the youngest – myself, Emily, and my sister Jess. We stick out more noticeably now, as ‘big kids’ who join in occasionally but mostly just do teenager-y things in our party of three. At the same time, none of us can order a drink at the bar yet, which I think keeps us a little grounded. But for the first time ever, our lives (the children’s, I mean) are a factor – we can’t do this next year, so-and-so may be travelling, and we won’t be able to do it that month, so-and-so will be at uni. Our lives will be moving on, and it’s both totally baffling and a teensy bit scary.

So . . . yeah. This was supposed to be a nice, nostalgic chat, rather than this rambling display of existentialism. The point I want to make is that belonging somewhere means belonging forever; a fact which I view somewhat wistfully. Because whilst I know I can always come back to this place, with these people, and feel like I fit, it will not stay this way forever. I know that soon it will be time to look towards the future. Gulp.

8 thoughts on “a thing about belonging

  1. This is a really interesting post! When I was 16 I don’t think I ever really thought about things that way, but now I’m 18 it’s all I ever think about. It’s probably a good thing you’re thinking about this now though, and trying to get over it – it’s awful and scary now I’m going off to uni and having to think about how I’m leaving all my childhood behind, and I wish I’d have thought about it sooner like you are! The thoughts and realisations are a lot more dramatic than the reality though – nothing stays the same forever. Always here if it ever gets you down too much 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Hopefully I will be all thought-out on this topic before anything in my life actually starts to change! Mostly I feel excited about getting older and more independent, but I do have my moments where I’m just like NO I WILL BE A CHILD 4EVER THANKS.
      Good luck with uni next year, I hope you have an amazing time and that it’s not too hard!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Becoming an adult doesn’t mean you have to lose the childness within you – especially as a super young adult! I still think I’m 16 😂😩 Thank yoooou!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This was a really lovely read, Bex. If I could impart any wisdom on you, from your resident nearly-23-year-old Grandma, it would be to continue to always reflect and cherish moments in time like this and to have these memories encapsulated in words for you to look back on. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! And I will definitely follow your wise words – I had a really, really lovely day a few weeks ago, and I’ve been meaning to write down the events of the day, just to look back on. I normally try to photograph things a lot, but this is the first time I considered capturing things with words. Xx


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