Competing with the Paltrow’s

Hamptons anxiety is no joke.

Article by Stephanie Krikorian – published in New York Post August 6, 2019

The metric of happiness among the Hamptons elite is best captured in a tip-jar survey that once sat on the counter at Jack’s Stir Brew in Amagansett.

Jar #1: “Would you rather a life of solitude but you are wealthy?”

Jar #2: “Or a life with friends and family but you are poor?”

No contest. The rich-but-lonely jar overflowed with $1 bills.

Why are so many people out here, all of whom have “made it,” obsessed with stuff and status? And why is everyone so unhappy?

Take, for example, a friend of mine, whom I recently picked up to go to dinner at the new Sag Harbor hot spot K Pasa. She is stunning, successful and lives in an enviable home south of the highway (the defining wealth line). As I stood in her chef’s kitchen — which has two dishwashers — she offered a confession.

“Steph,” she said, “this is the first summer I haven’t been overwhelmed with anxiety.”

What changed? I asked.

“It took watching my friend go through cancer,” she said. “Now I don’t care if there’s dust on the floor or if the houseguests get fed anymore.”

On a glorious crack-of-dawn beach walk another day, I ran into a friend walking his puppy. I asked him how he was doing, and the first thing he said was that he was waking up feeling anxious. The new dog was a lot of work. Also, he was sick of talking to celebrities for his enviable job at a glossy magazine.

“They’re all boring and they’re all the same,” he said.

Even fun causes stress. A couple I know went sailing for the day and left their multiple cars parked at random marinas so they had options when they docked.

But! They forgot all of their keys. They texted me to drive them home.
How was their day on the water?
“Sailing takes too much time,” I was told. “We’re tired and dehydrated.”
Keeping up socially wiped out another friend of mine just five minutes into summer.
“I’m exhausted,” she told me. “Going out every night and drinking a bottle of rosé is killing me.” No wonder a couple of years ago, CVS ran out of Xanax mid-July.

Some Hamptonites don’t medicate or complain. They just bail.
“We gave up our place,” another friend told me. “When you get up to having three houses, but no staff, it just gets to be too much.” It’s survival of the fittest out here. Everyone is scrambling to keep up with the Paltrows.
I’m no exception. Hamptons status anxiety is part of my new book, “Zen Bender.”

Being ungrateful is highly contagious in the Hamptons.

Five years ago, after scrimping and saving, I fulfilled a dream and bought my own modest house out here. The day I closed, thrilled at my accomplishment as a single woman and a writer with a sporadic income, I walked up to the front door and thought to myself, “I did it!”

My house is situated on the prettiest private road, mere feet from a stunning harbor.

What do you think?

Written by Scott Williams

Scott Williams is one of Australia's most respected corporate communicators.

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