The Perils of the Season, Again

Because I am a responsible adult who, very importantly, doesn’t want to get in trouble with anyone thank you very much, I spent part of the last weekend doing my taxes. It’s a chore that has become the most depressing second nature imaginable in the many years that I’ve been living in the U.S., and one that without fail leaves me in a melancholy mood with one simple question: Why don’t I have more money?

Not in the sense of, why don’t I earn more money generally, because that’s a thought that I keep to myself during the work week, especially on those more stressful times; instead, it’s when I do the math about how much income I get, and how much I spend to pay rent, pay bills, etc., I’m always left thinking, surely I should have more in my bank account for the two minutes before I remember things like groceries and eating.

This year was worse than usual, because of the multiple international trips I took, and the dent they made in my bank balance. (On the one hand, yes, the flights were paid for my work, but once I was there, I paid for the majority of my accommodation and all of my domestic travel, and that really piles up when you’re there for two or three weeks at a time and criss-crossing around the country all the time.) I added up all the incoming money I had, looked at the outgoing and then… took a quiet moment to myself.

The other thing that traditionally happens when I do my taxes is that I promise myself that this is the year I’ll be better with money, that I’ll save more, that I will be conscious of everything I could and should be doing to prepare for my future. This year, thankfully, I put that to the side; I’m old enough now to accept that shit will happen no matter what I plan, whether it’s pet medical expenses, family medical expenses, or, you know, global pandemics dramatically impacting my ability to make a living. The best you can hope for is… well, the best you can hope for.

Tax season is a time of year where you come to terms with how powerless you are about your own finances, or else you want to stare out a window wordlessly for a few hours.

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