Hotel California

The Eagles’  song reminds me of co housing

Hotel California Album Cover | Toni Marino

“Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light” – that was me, looking at the light, the hope of finally getting to live in cohousing after falling in love with the idea the moment I heard about it 10 years before.

“This could be Heaven or this could be Hell” – that’s the truth of cohousing.  I love the idea that you have a part in creating a community but as a group, they can make it a wonderful place to live or a terrible place to live.

“Welcome to the Hotel California

Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)

Such a lovely face” most cohousing buildings and houses are drop dead gorgeous but is it just a mask? How do people really treat each other?  It could be heaven or it could be hell.

“Some dance to remember, some dance to forget” – that’s our back story that we bring to cohousing.  Have we worked on ourselves? Are we honest? Will cohousing trigger something you thought was way back in your past like it did for me? Have you been stuck in middle school and create a caste system?

“We haven’t had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine.” – that could be the founding members losing their drive after years and having so many new members that the spirit has changed.

“Bring your alibis” – sometimes you need someone to vouch for you or take your side in cohousing especially if some sort of group think happens and everyone makes you the scapegoat and believes others’ lies and not your truth.

“And she said “We are all just prisoners here, of our own device” – Again, we make our own destinies. It can be devastating to find out we choose to live in a place that can be so difficult.  We were promised utopia and instead got dystopia.

“They stab it with their steely knives

But they just can’t kill the beast” – that unnerving feeling that you shouldn’t have moved here to live with these people (could be heaven at another community but not this one) and everything you do to try to recourse the ship is not working – resistant little beasts they are!

“You can check-out any time you like

But you can never leave!” – of course you can leave cohousing however it isn’t easy. Unless you are a renter, which I think everyone should do if possible to see if they enjoy cohousing and these exact people first before making a huge commitment, most people have to buy in so now you have to sell your house which can be difficult since cohousing doesn’t attract a lot of buyers in most markets. They have to want to live intentionally with all these close neighbors.  You also may actually have the chance to leave quickly like I did (though my house was easier to rent and quite difficult to sell), but the bad memories are hard to shake especially if the place did become a hell. I also have to continue getting emails since I am still a member as a homeowner. 

So, welcome to the Hotel California – make it heaven, please!

About CJ

I was a Spanish teacher for 5 years in the Public School system in 3 different states. I homeschooled and taught at a democratic free school. I heard about cohousing in 2010 and wanted to move in right away. I met a group building one in 2018 and got to move in the summer of 2019. It only took a year to want out.
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