The apartment where I live in Emeryville is really swanky. But despite the on-site gym and pool minutes from my front door, I can't wait until I can afford to move out.
I usually stay in my room when I'm at home. I get lost in my own world, watching movies, sketching, or listening to music. It's easy to forget I don't live by myself... that is, until my dad knocks on my door with a list of chores. That's when I remember: at 19 years old, after so much searching and saving, I still can't afford to move out. Between rising rent and limited, low-paying job opportunities in the Bay Area, staying with my dad is the only stable housing option I have.
When I can, I visit houses that are for rent. The last place I checked out was almost perfect: a humble but brand new duplex, with a backyard and a gas stove. I was already visualizing my future garden when I asked about rent. That's when I learned that my roommates and I wouldn't even be considered unless we made over three times the posted rent. My heart sank. Students like me can't get jobs that pay that much.
Self-sufficiency is a major part of how I define adulthood. I handle my own transportation, work hard in school, and I buy most of my food with my own money. It feels immature to leave my responsibilities to someone else.
I keep trying to remember that rooming with my dad is financially responsible. It gives me more time to find a better-paying job and more freedom to focus on my education. But my dad and I just don't communicate well. A conversation about groceries can easily turn into a shouting match.