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.
I’m grateful he lets me live in his apartment. But it doesn’t always feel like home. Even with the benefits of free rent, as long as my dad is my roommate, it doesn’t matter how old I am; I’ll still feel like a kid.