Tybee 101 – Living on Tybee Time
The locals don’t care how things are done in other places. Tybee has always been known for being unique, quirky, funky, off-beat, and any other word you can think of that means “different.” You can make suggestions, lobby for changes, and tear your hair out, but you probably won’t be heard. Most of the long-time Tybee residents are so laid-back, they usually don’t understand why anyone gets upset over the little challenges of life. Their philosophical views include “get over it,” “don’t sweat the small stuff,” and “let it go.” If you’re on vacation, leave your worries at home, and don’t be concerned about any little inconveniences you might experience while on da island!
Lesson #2 –
You cannot tell the wealthy people from the beach bums. Don’t assume that the old guy wearing raggedy shorts and flip flops in a dive bar is some poor dude who gets government assistance. Lots of people ditch the nice clothes, jewelry, and uncomfortable shoes when they move to Tybee. They might live in an old cottage or a new 4000 square foot house with an ocean view, but their net worth can’t be determined by their personal appearance. At Tybee, it’s acceptable to wear casual clothes all of the time, even to church, so some people don’t even own respectable outfits. Or coats.The 32 degrees latitude means you can get by with a couple extra layers during the few days of cold weather we get every winter. Spending a lot of time walking on the beach, going out on boats, and riding bikes makes everyone look windblown, even when sporting the most popular hairstyle for both men and women: the ponytail! Make-up melts in the hot, humid weather, so most women wear the bare minimum. Speaking of the bare minimum, you won’t see many suits, jackets, or neckties on the island. It just isn’t necessary! There is an old saying: Dress as you wish to be treated. Well, Tybee folks aren’t embarrassed to look like beach bums. However, if you want to wear that resort wear and those sexy heels you packed, that’s just fine, too.
Lesson #3 –
Not everyone is striving for financial success. Sure, there are varying degrees of ambition and work habits here, but many people who choose to live on a tiny island have other priorities. They might desire to work just enough to get by, then spend the rest of their time surfing, spending time with family, and creating art or music. Some retirees have already spent decades in the “rat race,” so they are enjoying their twilight years having fun and relaxing. Of course, there are always exceptions to every rule. Those new-comers who have dollar signs in their eyes might prosper in their chosen island-based businesses, but they also might feel frustrated by the relaxed attitudes of their fellow islanders. People everywhere have to decide how hard they want to work to purchase the lifestyle they think they need. Many beach people don’t need more than what nature provides.
Lesson #4 –
Everybody socializes with everybody else. Tybee has over 3000 people on three square miles, so the locals see each other repeatedly. Our paths cross throughout the day and at every community event, so it’s best to be civil to all. If you have a conflict with Billy Bob, sho ’nuff you will see him at least twice a day for the next week, so play nice to avoid awkward situations. Nobody wants to move away, so even ex-spouses and feuding family members see their “enemies” frequently, so they eventually learn to deal with it. It’s hard to hide from someone else in such a small community. If you are “clique-ish” or think you are better than your neighbors, you won’t fit in here!
Lesson #5 –
Forget about Father Time while you are here! Give yourself permission to relax, refresh, and rejuvenate. Your life at home is probably heavily scheduled, so try to accept “Tybee Time” and go with the flow. Don’t try to rush through your planned activities or during your travels to/from Tybee. Disconnect from your devices and enjoy reconnecting with nature and loved ones. Our ancestors knew that the ocean breezes are restorative and that a swim will wash your troubles away!
Lesson #6 –
Explore your creative and artistic side. Tybee has many opportunities for locals and visitors to express themselves. You can try karaoke (particularly if you don’t know anyone else here), take art lessons, volunteer to be onstage or backstage for a local play production, take photographs, join the crafty ladies at the Episcopal Church on Thursday afternoons, or join the musical jams held at the bars (Doc’s and Social Club on Tuesdays and Sandbar on Wednesdays). There are many artists and musicians at Tybee who encourage others to try new things. Island life is like kindergarten. As Robert Fulghum advised, ” Live a balanced life – learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work everyday some. Take a nap every afternoon.”
Lesson #7 –
You might want to relocate to Tybee! Many new residents discovered Tybee while on vacation, then planned to move here permanently. It’s a great place to visit and a special place to live. You can chill out by yourself or become involved in community activities. As in most small towns, there are very few secrets and soon everybody will know your name. Just be forewarned: When you have a house at the beach, you will hear from all of your long-lost friends and relatives!