Keep Fit: A Room with a View in Southampton

Kelly's new view in Southampton
Kelly's new view in Southampton, Photo: K. Laffey

I did it.

I found an apartment in Southampton. It’s a small, waterfront studio and I’m already daydreaming about stand-up paddleboarding both before and after work, and sipping Wölffer rosé on my new deck that doubles the size of my living space.

I grew up in Southampton, and when I moved back home I never dreamed that I’d be able to have my own place. It’s long been said that the East End is experiencing “brain drain,” the notion that the high cost of housing is squeezing out young professionals, who choose to live (and thus work) in an area with a lower cost of living, or at least a place with more 20-somethings to secure as roommates.

I can’t say that I’ve found a solution to this problem. Like all things Hamptons, my new pad comes with a price tag. But, I’ve found a solution to my attitude.

For as much as I love being outdoors, I also love television. Before I discovered my current favorites—Parks and Rec, Nashville and Chicago Fire, I was an avid Office viewer. There’s an episode midway through the series where Pam, the office secretary, gets accepted to Pratt Institute to pursue art. Inclined to not enroll for a litany of practical reasons, someone tells Pam, “There are always a million reasons not to do something.”

I can’t say why a quote from a sitcom has stuck with me, but it has. I wasn’t serious in my apartment search, because I had convinced myself that it wasn’t going to work out.

I had declared that I was stuck in my current situation, not realizing that not making moves was, in itself, its own sort of move. But after talks with a number of people, I’ve come to believe that when you want something, you go for it, and you just find a way to deal with the other—potentially negative—things that could happen.

Of course, there are some very good reasons to not do something. I didn’t want to move into a place where I felt unsafe, or somewhere so far away that the freedom of living on my own would be negated by a freedom-inhibiting commute.

But, there are legitimate concerns, which help us to make good decisions; and then there are excuses, which prevent us from doing that. Figuring out the difference is an ongoing learning process, as is staying positive and patient while you wait for the real reasons to work themselves out.

Since signing my lease, I’ve realized that most people my age don’t get to live with their parents. And I’ll admit that I rarely took a step back to view my time at home as “getting” to live my parents. Though we get along together very well, I mostly thought of it as a temporary situation that I would one day leave. But in retrospect, they were great “roommates,” and I’m happy to be able to say that I got to spend time with them as an adult.

Of course, I’m also happy to now have a place I call my own. And thankfully, the apartment comes with cable included. So, worst-case scenario, if something doesn’t work out, I can continue to take advice from The Office.

Like this exchange in the “Money” episode:

Michael Scott: “I declare bankruptcy.”

Oscar Martinez: Hey. I just wanted you to know that you can’t just say the word “bankruptcy” and expect anything to happen.

Michael: I didn’t say it. I declared it.

Luckily for my new living situation, sound travels faster over water.

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