What it means to live alone in the Bay Area


Jayvonna Corley,

The trials and tribulations of adulting

When I first walked into my yard, everything seemed normal. It wasn’t until I got to the front gate that leads to my front door that I noticed something was off. The door was cracked, although I was certain I locked it shut. “I could have sworn I locked this,” I thought to myself as I approached the front door of my apartment. I walked in with hesitation to see that my home had been burglarized.

I live in a studio apartment on the border line of San Leandro and East Oakland. I say borderline because when I look to my right I see houses with gates and fences. The grass is dead and the dogs look hungry. When I look to my left I see joint yards with friendly people watering their yard. I’ve lived here for a little over a year and have experienced the ups and downs of living alone.

It wasn’t until my house got broken into that I thought I was being a little naive and hard headed. The feeling of knowing someone was in your home and in your things is unsettling, you feel violated. I was lost and confused on what to do next when I entered my home. The clothes for my dressers were on the floor things that were in my closet were knocked down and my purse was dumped out on the counter. My dog was still in his cage area which was a shock to me. I thought they might have knocked it down trying to get in and out.

When I first moved in here I didn’t feel threatened, I almost felt safe. I have a security gate on my front door and one to cover my porch where my dog used to sleep. He’s not much of a protector but he’s great for company and letting me know when someone’s near the gate.

The first six months were great. I didn’t really have any problems besides people feeding my dog. I even had a couple of really friendly neighbors. I felt really comfortable with where I was. I had prepared for living alone so I thought being an adult was easy.

Last summer was my wake-up call. I got into an car accident before going out of state. I didn’t have time to get my car fixed so I left it outside my house. I was gone for three weeks and came home to my car vandalized. The windows were busted and the tires were missing and the inside was all torn up. I was so hurt because I didn’t expect that to happen in my neighborhood.

Not having a car made it hard to get to and from work so I had to switch jobs. Which made it hard for me to stay ahead of my bills, messing up my budgeting plan. The trick to living alone and paying your own bills is to never get behind. Once you get behind it’s harder to come back up, even if you fall behind just the smallest bit.

Even after my car was vandalized and I struggled to keep up with bills, I did not want to move out and find a roommate or go back to my parents. Finding my own apartment was one of my biggest accomplishments. I was determined to make it through all the trials and tribulations.

This is my first apartment that I want to keep, it’s the only one that’s in my price range. When living alone you learn just how much you can manage and what you can handle. I don’t want to move somewhere I can’t afford and end up struggling even more. I also don’t want to live with a roommate and have to experience uncomfortable living accommodations that come with that process. I have grown accustomed to having my own space and don’t want to give that up.

It took me a week or two to feel fully comfortable in my home again. I was still determined to keep my apartment but I knew that I had to start living more safe. I found a better job that will allow me to save money so I can find a new apartment in a better neighborhood.