Tax Day — not yours but mine — on the day of rest


I’ve put it off long enough.  First thing this morning I was in the office getting my taxes sorted.  Last year I made a silly mistake and got caught with taxes owing that I hadn’t covered with Estimated Tax payments.  In the 2016 tax year I was doing just fine until two days before the end of the year when our financial advisor screwed up and forgot that the IRA withdrawal that I wanted for our home purchase was supposed to be in the ’17 tax year — and he authorized it to withdraw in the ’16 tax year.  I was so angry — but at that point there was nothing I could do about it, other than pay the piper.  And walk around the house grumpy for a day back in January when I discovered the mistake.

Do you recognize the musical symbol for a rest?

It’s amazing how much easier taxes are to prepare today than back in the 60’s when we got married and we didn’t know what we were doing, and there were no programs to help you check out all the available options.  It still took me a while but I didn’t once try to pull my hair out!  And I didn’t scream at the computer!  It was a very civilized morning, all things considered.

I try not to do taxes on Sundays.  Even though we aren’t attending formal religious services at present I still try to leave Sundays as a day of rest and reflection — meaning that I also tend to do my blogging for the day on Saturday or Monday.  Except today.  Today I’m relaxed — having dispatched perhaps my least favorite annual task without a hemorrhaging wallet and without raising my blood pressure unduly.

While we were camp hosting it always worked out that Sundays were our busiest day.  I was never happy about that.  We had two days off each week but I still never felt good about working on Sunday.  Much of my work life I was not on a regular 5 day work week and in my younger days I substituted whatever day I had off for my day of rest and reflection.  I do think that there’s both a spiritual reason and a physical reason for a regular day off.  And at my present age I actually appreciate those days — a lot.

Heck, I even try not to set alarms any more.  I do have my phone set to the three times per day that I take meds.  And if I want an energy nap I’ll set the alarm for 15 minutes and get up when it rings feeling quite refreshed — that really does work.  But I don’t set alarms for waking, and not for appointments.  I’m always early for appointments anyway — setting an alarm would be ridiculous.  Time always seemed to matter when I was working — to enjoy the luxury of not having to allow time to matter.  The idea that I can do whatever I’m doing until I’m done is such sheer joy.  I can hardly express it.

I don’t know about other retirees but the longer I get to enjoy my retirement the more I notice smaller and smaller things being greater sources of joy or satisfaction.  It’s not because I’m doing less.  I suppose I am, but my days are busy and as active as my body will allow.  But the idea that I can work on things without interruptions, or keep working on them until I’m done/satisfied/exhausted has helped me appreciate the phases and nature of activity.  How people can get to the point where they have nothing to do bewilders me.  I know it happens — people tell me so — but I’m glad I’m interested in almost everything and still able enough to putter around with whatever is on my mind.

Resting can be a mental thing, or a physical thing, or it can be both.  I think being one of those all-on, or all-off kind of guys I’ve always understood that and sought to get my rest whenever I could.  I get teased — specially by my son-in-law that I can sleep anywhere (while he has a hard time) but after years on the road when sleep was a precious commodity and sometimes you had to get what you could when you could get it it’s become a skill like many other skills that life teaches us.  The fact that I’ve been lucky and not had experiences that haunt me helps a lot.  I know folks who’s rest is hampered or haunted by events of the past and that’s a rough road to go.  I feel compassionate about that; and I can only be the more thankful for the blessing of memories absent such horrors.

In this economy it seems that a lot of people have lost the idea of resting.  Everyone wants to cram as much as possible into their lives; and that’s fine. They can do whatever they choose with their own lives. But I’m one who still appreciates the times — mental and / or physical — when I can let the organism recharge itself.

And now that my taxes are done I can do that with renewed vigor!

 

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8 Comments

  1. Yes, me too on taxes, though mine have gotten more complex…I’m still doing them myself. I actually had a preparer check them last year and they missed something. IRS sent me a bill. 😦 Go figure. I won’t be having that person check my work this year.

    The little things are often the biggest things for long lasting joy…in my opinion.

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    1. LOL about the tax check!

      I 100% think that the best thing we ever did was downsize and spend 5 years in a coach. I don’t think I’ve been negligent through my life about appreciating what I have, but I know without doubt that the five years on the road have increased my awareness of how much I have to be thankful about 1000%. We’ve always tried to live below our means and have something left for others and for a rainy day. The Polish have an expression for that kind of living: you are saving for (and the spelling is going to be wrong here) the Czarna Godzina (phonetically: ‘char-na go-‘gee-na — or the “black day.” But that was not the same as simple appreciation. Now the simple pleasure of birds in the trees, or a cooling breeze have come to have sublime satisfaction to them. I wasn’t ‘ready’ for that years ago — I AM ready for it now.

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      1. I understand your Polish statement…they had reason to be/feel that way. I wonder if they ever got to the state where they truly could enjoy the little things…or was the Sword of Damocles always present?

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      2. My maternal grandmother lived to 103 and the black day was there till the end.

        I’m not sure my parents ever moved past that either; they were always frugal, even when they were extravagant. In the last 5 years of my dad’s life — when mom was gone — he would splurge on things like posh meals when he traveled but those were measured splurges countered by periods of frugality.

        I’m not sure the concept of the Black Day is all that far from MY brain for that matter. We have always tried to live below our means, but in different ways than the two previous generations, and not as strictly.

        Maybe it’s genetic? 🙂

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        Liked by 1 person

      3. Not genetic…survival. If you look at the history of the Poles, whether here or from Europe…they had cause to be concerned. This became a survival instinct which they most likely indoctrinated into you early and often. So, I guess genetics in an odd way does have something to do with it. 😉

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      4. LOL — I have often teased about the Poles, that any time someone “threw” a war (as in throwing a party) the guests came marching through Poland.

        So, I hear ya.

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        Liked by 1 person

  2. Doesn’t it always feel so good to have the taxes done every year? I couldn’t agree more. We have opted to just use the services of a CPA for a few years now, the one my father and mother always used, and that alone gives us both some additional peace of mind. When I look at all those schedules that have to be completed on our return now, I just kinda cringe at the thought of having to negotiate all that myself, and my background is in finance. He charges about $300 and it’s totally worth it to both of us now to just turn it over to him. And…. we are getting a refund for the first time in a while! lol Sounds like your transition to a home is a good one, and I’m happy for both of you on that front. Retirement should be just what you are describing, I think. Enjoy each other and love life every day!

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    1. Boy, Howdy…. you hit the nail on the head. It feels incredible — the same feeling each year — whether we owe or get a refund, knowing that that obligation is complete is a relief! I’ve been audited once in my life; walked into the office with three of those large paper boxes (that kind that copy paper comes in) on a little dolly, two hours later I rolled out with my paper boxes and a little piece of paper that said I didn’t owe any money and I wasn’t getting any money back either. I’d made a couple mistakes, one in my favor, one in theirs and net, net, I was free and clear! One of the happiest days of my life!!!!!

      Of course I hate anything government. If I’m driving down the highway and a cop makes a u-turn from going the other direction and comes around behind me, whether I’m going the speed limit or not my heart drops into my boot and I’m sure I did something wrong — even if I’m going 5 under the limit. I’ve been driving in the middle of the night on deserted roads and had a cop pull me over when he literally witnessed my head light burn out — to give me a warning ticket to get my headlight fixed. I swear, if anyone’s gonna get pulled over for anything it’s gonna be me. Even if I’m trying to be a good person. So, any interactions with government are just fraught with angst. And taxes are a necessary interaction. sigh.

      For us — and only us — the transition from work to retirement went — I THINK — better because we chose to go RV’ing right after retiring. In retrospect I think the downsizing process did us a lot of good. The change from our OLD life to a new life — any new life — forced us to confront the new reality and I think it set us up for success in this new stage in life. Or, should I say, it set us up for what WE consider success — as just looking around the RV park reminds me that not everyone has the same idea of what they want their lives to be.

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      Liked by 1 person

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