Exercise your choices!

If you’re reading this on the beach, I’m here to tell you that this is a great place to live. Shortly after I moved here, an associate from my former practice in Washington, D.C. likened resort dwellers to ‘outlaws.’ I took it (and she meant it) as a compliment. Resort living does require some degree of self-sufficiency and ‘being alone without being lonely.’ I’ve mentioned this to friends who have lived here longer than I have, and they agree. But they also say they miss their ethnic restaurants, mega-malls, specialty stores and big-city cultural activities. They’re not ‘lonely’ as such, but they do sometimes yearn for the upbeat way of life that doesn’t happen here — especially in the off-season.

The change of seasons at the beach can be a little unsettling. It’s perfectly natural to want occasional contact with something different. I believe that the positive aspects of living here outweigh the desire for some, shall we say, ‘urban interaction,’ but you have to remember that we’re not totally isolated. Within a few hours of this little beach resort lie some of the biggest cities in the world. We’re only a couple of hours from international airports that can take us anywhere we desire. A slight mindset shift to thinking of this area as ‘centrally located’ can open up a world of opportunity.

Personally, I love metropolitan areas such as New York City, Chicago and the like. But they will always take second place to my walks on the beach and the coastal panorama from the top of the Indian River Inlet bridge. And when I do feel the need for a Manhattan deli fix, or the neon-charged excitement of Las Vegas, I think of Delaware as a base of operations — just a drive or flight away from whatever I could possibly want. And then I get to leave it all behind and return to my own quiet resort.

We can’t have it both ways. If you prefer a thriving metro area or a sprawling suburb, this isn’t it. We all make choices and must realize the limitations of those choices. But at the same time, we have more variety than we realize.

My local friends like the notion of being outlaws. Part of that is, in a sense, being able to think ‘outside the box.’ Instead of feeling stuck with the choice between a calm existence and big-city life, you can go with the home-base idea. There’s no reason to feel stuck in the winter. Visualize yourself going somewhere that’s exciting. And then visualize your return home to the place you obviously love, or you probably wouldn’t have moved here in the first place. Then make actual plans. You can, in reality, enjoy the best of both worlds.

Sometimes we make decisions that we end up resenting. We resent them not because we think they’re wrong, but because we fixate on the down sides. This is where some people get stuck. They don’t want to contend with the down side, other than to ‘deal with it.’ They forget what motivated them towards that decision in the first place. All their decision needs is just a little fine-tuning.

Many find it helpful to treat themselves to a few southerly days or weeks in January or February. Or maybe a mid-summer trip north, especially to a less traveled place. My experience has shown that people who do these things tend to be happier here. It’s not that you must go here or there; it’s simply that you have choices and that you can act on them. Not acting on your choices can result in feeling depressed or trapped.

So, whether you live here or are just thinking about it, life isn’t about where you live, so much as it is about just living. We beach dwellers love it here, but we might want to experience other things too. So take my advice: Do it all!