"We have a strong instinct to belong to small groups defined by clear purpose and understanding--"tribes." This tribal connection has been largely lost in modern society, but regaining it may be the key to our psychological survival." - Sebastian Junger
Hilton Head Island and Bluffton are full of communities to select from and trying to choose which to live in can be cumbersome. Communities on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton come in all different shapes and sizes, each offering something for everyone; private-resort, gated-nongated, golf and tennis, pool-ocean, community rec areas, the list goes on and on. While many may appear to be similar from the outside, once you get into the community you may find they differ significantly and for good reason, each caters to a different type of owner.
Many like to say that buying a house is equivalent to buying ‘a box’ and that box sits inside a larger box which is the community its located in. To me this is an overly generic statement and may serve the purpose of simplifying what can become a tedious process but leaves out one of the most important factors in the house selection process, i.e. the culture of the community.
Whether you realize it or not, it’s the culture of the community more so than the house you buy that endears you to it. The culture is what allows living within that community to be a pleasure. Live in a community where you clash with the culture, or it doesn’t suit you and your beliefs and every day may feel like an eternity. One of the bi-products of those adhering to the same culture is trust. Without trust as a building block it is difficult to build anything. When you trust those you live around and they trust you, life is so much easier, is it not?
For a detailed illustration I would recommend ‘Tribe: Homecoming and Belonging’ by Sebastian Junger. In this New York Times best seller, Junger lived with the American Indian’s of the Southwest while doing research for his master’s thesis studying what it is that allow tribes (communities) to develop trust, a common purpose, responsibilities for certain things, etc. He went on to become a wartime journalist, spending time in Afghanistan with American soldiers. What he found there, which was baffling, was with all the atrocities soldiers see on a regular basis, in some strange way when they returned home they missed the war. As he suffered from his own version of PTSD he started digging more, conducting further research and found when people within a group routinely look out for and help others within the group, even if it means giving up their own life for the protection of others, an unbelievable bond is formed. It is this bond becomes the foundation for the culture of the group. According to Junger, this is also the case with Peace Corps workers that spend time in third world countries for extended periods of time. They grow used to the feeling of ‘community’. Void of the nuances and caste system their own society imparts on them. Yet when they return home they have extremely high rates of depression. The depression is similar to the military and their struggle with PTSD. What the research is discovering is after spending so much time as a cohesive group, soldiers and workers are returning to a society that is singular in its nature. It’s the complete opposite of what they are used to, as part of a unit or group, and assimilating back into society becomes extremely difficult.
What does this have to do with selecting a house?
When moving to the Hilton Head Island/Bluffton area it’s easy to find the right box; i.e. a house. For many real estate agents, knowing each community is not a difficult thing either; i.e. it has three golf courses, beach access, amenity center, the list goes on and on. However, knowing the culture of each community, how it differs from others and pairing that up with what you are looking for is an art. As an art it is developed and refined over time. For 23 years I have lived in the Hilton Head Island/Bluffton area and observed each community, some as they were being developed and others as they developed their own culture, to determine what each represented and the subtle differences that make one a better fit for one buyer versus that of another. This may seem like something small and possibly something you can forego when moving to the area but too often I have seen people move here only to want to move to another community down the road a year later because they like the people more. A word to the wise, it’s not only the people they like better but the culture those people have created and represent. If you understand that early on you can save yourself the trouble later. Not only will you enjoy everything your neighborhood has to offer but it will be as if you found the fountain of youth as your energy and joy are elevated to a level not experienced since your youth. The excitement of learning more about your surroundings, things to do and people to meet will be revisited. It will be as if you found Nirvana.
QUESTION OF THE DAY: What did you think of 'culture' as a way of selecting a community to live in? Please let us know in the comments below:
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