Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tax Day

During grad school over the past three years I have done a lot of contracted work. When you do contracted work, taxes are not taken out of your paycheck for you. I kind of think this is the way it always should be done, because taxes would be a lot more uncomfortable for everyone, so we'd probably do a better job of holding those who spend it accountable. But I digress....

In 2013 I knew that tax day was coming, but I just tried not to think about it until I no longer avoid thinking about it (which is a very adult, logical response to that kind of situation, I'm sure you'll all concur), and then I figured it all out and spent part of the summer paying off my bill. Resolved to not relive the same uncomfortable experience stemming from my lack of preparation. From that point on, I started saving 10% of everything I earned through contracted jobs, thinking that even if it wasn't enough, it would at least be a good start. It felt good to be a little more responsible. 

But let's get real, responsibility, at least in certain areas, has never been a real strength of mine. 

I got back to the States in August and started my last year of grad school two days later. I darn near immediately felt like my whole self was going to explode, which wouldn't have been pretty. I bit off more than I could chew, but we all do that sometimes, and when we do, what's the solution? I just wanted to hang out with my friend, Coco. I guess we all probably have people we just click with. My buddy, Coco, is that to a T for me. It's crazy how well we get along and read each other. When I could tell things were getting crazy back home, I just thought, man, it would be great if we could hang out. I just wanted to chat and chill with someone who got it. The problem was that we don't live in the same country.

Never one to let reality get in my way, I determined I was going no matter what. I some point in the last decade I subconsciously made the decision (I say that because I have no idea when this became my attitude) that I was going to pretend that the Atlantic Ocean doesn't exist (no offense, Atlantic). A very significant percentage of the people I care about most in this world live on the other side of the body-of-water-that-shall-not-be-named, and I finally just got sick of it and said, "Hey, if I'm going to maintain those relationships the way I try to maintain my relationships here, well, then there can't be any of this, 'I would if I could', or, 'If only I was a bit closer' nonsense." So I still send birthday gifts, even though the shipping usually costs more than the gift, and I make it a point to be at weddings and to just be available in general, and I wake up at 4:30am for phone calls because it's the time that works best, and I just try to play it off like it's no big deal because really, in the grand scheme of things, it's just some water, right?

Part of my plan for continuing to live like this forever and ever is that I want to always have a bit of money tucked away for last minute trips (i.e. funerals, weddings, etc). But being a grad student isn't the most luxurious lifestyle on the planet, and so my aforementioned tucked away money has yet to exist. 

I know what you're thinking....what does all of this have to do with TAXES, Nicki?!! Chill out. I'll tell you. It turns out that the price of a ticket to Frankfurt, Germany was just about nearly the same amount I had stashed in the deep, dark corners of my bank account ready to hand over to the Federal Government on April 15th of this year. And I don't even really like the government that much. 

So I bought the ticket. Of course I did. I totally would, and I totally did. And I'm so glad I did. 

I was just reminded of this whole episode as I paid my taxes two days ago on the very last day possible and put it all on my credit card. I'll have it paid off it a matter of weeks, so I'm not sweating about it, but it still wasn't fun to pay it - until I thought about why I was paying it now, and thought back to 10 days of peace and good old fashioned fun with my best friend and some of the people nearest and dearest to my heart (but not all - most are still here in the States) in the middle of what was otherwise a crazy, hectic, and not so fun semester.

Oh, and we drove 8 hours from the airport in Frankfurt to Revel, France to surprise her mom on her 68th birthday. It was awesome.

Sometimes there's just no substitute for the real deal.

1 comment:

Jason Medina said...

Thanks for taking care of friends (: