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Sixty-Something: Why The Hamptons Summer Season Is Great For My Mental Health

T.J. Clemente

The author on a sail. (Courtesy Photo)

Being sixty-something in age, life has tested me many times. Life may be short but a lifetime can be very long. This last Memorial Day weekend was a pleasant surprise of the best weather so far in 2019. The sunshine and warm breezes along with the sound of the waves of a heating-up ocean brought a smile to all East Enders. True the summer traffic is annoying and every local's patience gets tested perhaps too often, but for me the summer season in the Hamptons is great for my mental health.

Open window driving of back country roads, scenic vistas of farmland being planted with the dust from ploys off in the distance have a serene impact on me. I can be a very excitable individual although age has mellowed me. However what has mellowed even more is the physical reality of the Hamptons. I traverse all the Hamptons to get to my sailboat almost daily. After my marriage I moved to East Patchogue from Montauk, but I still keep my sailboat in Three Mile Harbor, East Hampton. So daily I drive through Westhampton, Quogue, Hampton Bays, Southampton Village, Water Mill, Bridgehampton, Sag Harbor, Wainscott, East Hampton Village and finally to the Springs. I truly get to experience all of the Hamptons daily. I actually never use Route 27 after turning on to Tuckahoe Road at Shinnecock Golf Club. I love the back-country road experience.

On my drives I see ospreys, deer, a few foxes, lots of turkeys, occasional rabbits, ospreys in their nests and now an occasional bald eagle. I watch the farm stands set up and, on the way home close down. I watch folks riding their bicycles and motorcycles. I see the joggers, the walkers, and the skateboarders. Seeing all of this calms me, thrills me and most of all brings joy to me. I watch the Hamptons live, evolve through the seasons. I am not a local although I am locally there daily. That is why I love to write about what I see throughout the Hamptons. The beauty, the special ocean air, and the wide-open spaces brings me a total inner peace. I have been changed by almost twenty years of Hamptons experiences all year round. Even when I spent a whole decade living full-time all over East Hampton Town (East Hampton Village, Springs, MTK) I never considered myself a local, but a respectful guest. Through so many writing assignments over the last fifteen-years I have learned so much about the history, the people and the legends of the Hamptons. All of this has changed who I am from whom I was.

I believe this is true of all who have moved to or bought second homes on the East End, along with those who frequent the area winter, spring, summer or fall. By the way, in my lifetime I have never been anywhere where the locals don't say, "This place has really changed over the years." However I believe every town and its community has a unique soul, a state of existence, a presence that time and changing populations does not change. The Hamptons will always be ocean influenced by the very fact that the ocean shore line stretches out al least fifty miles from Westhampton Beach to Montauk Point. That brings a lot of specialness to the area.

My sailboat is back in the water. On actual Memorial Day, I sailed Gardiner's Bay for the first time of 2019 and the sunset over Shelter Island and the North Fork was as good as it gets. There is no doubt my total Hamptons experiences has been wonderful for my overall mental health. The East End has a soulful healing magic. I appreciate it.

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