I live in next year country. This is a place somewhere in between not enough and too much. Next year country is part myth and part reality. Next year is where you live when you don’t have enough. Or when you just have enough, no more or no less than what you need; need defined to be the very basic of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – food, shelter, clothing (internet).
Next year country is a rural sentiment. My grandparents, both farmers, were well acquainted with the place. Next year we’ll be able to expand, to buy a tractor, or go on that trip back to the home country, they’d muse.
One day soon they would sell the farm, build in town and let the government take care of them. After all, wasn’t this the dream – to live a better life than their ancestors who worked hard, survived and never dreamed of next year.
They were hard-working folk raised before credit was prevalent; as was my mother, who found herself in her twenties, alone, poor and responsible for four children. Through a never ending cycle of bills she lost faith even in next year country.
I was raised watching her (way too closely) make money, use that money to pay off last month’s bills and repeat the cycle endlessly never seeming to want something more. Well I, always, wanted something more.
He’d walked all the roads there were to walk
and some there never was.
He’d ask two and twenty questions
never learning the because.
And he knew that his life would not be
what it was before.
Still he knew that there most be something more.
(Something More by Rod McKuen; 1st stanza; in In Someone’s Shadow)
Some-days, I feel like a permanent resident of next year country. If you’ve being reading for awhile, you know I didn’t feel comfortable going to Scotland until I had a certain amount in my Savings account.
I don’t spend money easily. Both my kitchen & bedroom windows coverings are (technically) shower curtains – it was cheaper to spend under twenty dollars rather than over fifty for actual drapes. My bathroom shower curtain came from the dollar store; why spend ten dollars on plastic when two will do (and last as well).
My co-worker was aghast at the fact that I regularly shop the dollar store. That’s just so declasse, so lower class, and so cheap!
Then, it has come to my attention recently, that some relatives viewed me as cheap, as well, not frugal.
It hurt my feelings.
I’m frugal. I’ve always been careful (too careful) with my money. I don’t spend what I don’t have or won’t have by month’s end (yes, I have a credit card – it gets paid off in full every month).
This practice, this careful way of thinking, has come in handy during this year of unemployment. But at what cost?
I’m tired of living in next year country, of making do and giving up. I’m tired of staying in and counting the cost in pennies.
Why all this talk of money and next year country. Right now, friends and family (not concerned about money and debt) are here (click link) where I want to be. I told my friend next year, next year I’ll be there.
I’m tired of living in next year country. So, I’m living in the here and now, looking to the rising sun and trying to find a way beyond next year country.
“If you worship money and things – if they are where you tap real meaning in life – then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough.” (This is Water/David Foster).