I don't even do my own taxes. I hand them over to someone I assume knows what he (in this case) is doing. Still, no matter what good intentions I have, no matter what organizational methods I employ throughout the year, it is always a scramble for me to pull all the receipts together in a format suitable to hand over.
It doesn't matter if I bribe myself with lovely snacks and beverages and scintillating radio programs or music, or promise myself a grand reward when it's all done. It is always a chore to get myself remotely positioned to pull the receipts and notes together to hand over to the professionals.
I should note, until recently, I was self-employed for a very long time, which adds a ridiculous layer of complexity to the tax paying process. I mention this for those of you safely ensconced in employment, where you merely have to tick off some boxes and attach a few government documents. That is a completely different tax season experience! The self-employed, small business owners out there will understand what I'm talking about.
It doesn't help that spring beckons at tax season. At least it does where I live. Outside the blossoms are rioting for my attention. The birds are busy in their courtship rituals. Seeds are asking to be planted. Trails want to be hiked. I should have done this in the dead of winter when there were less distractions. Except in the winter I was busy with winter things.
Do you see the problem with the way I'm approaching the taxes? Don't worry, I will give you the answer.
I'm compartmentalizing. I'm treating my finances like they are a despised and separate part of my life. But, money, like relationships, requires tending. I need to nurture my relationship with money. I need to humanize it. I need Stephen Leacock.
In case you aren't familiar with him, Stephen Leacock was a Canadian writer and humourist. According to Wikipedia, between 1910 and 1925 he was the most widely read person in the English speaking world. He's not with us anymore, which is surprising as he once wrote:
"I detest life-insurance agents: they always argue that I shall some day die, which is not so.
I read Stephen Leacock's A, B and C on a plane recently and caused the poor passengers around me some distress. They already had enough to deal with. There was the constant cacophony of bawling babies and then a delay in cabin service. They did not need the woman in the last row by the bathrooms, (conveniently located adjacent to the queue), writhing in her seat, shoulders heaving, emitting muffled snorting sounds. That's disturbing at the best of times. Held captive in a metal flying tube at 30,000 feet, that's just not right.
In A,B and C, Leacock takes a literal journey with the imagined characters of text book math problems. It's inspired. Reading it confirms for me why we have a literary award for humour writing in Leacock's name.
Who's to say this won't help me with my taxes? Sometimes a little levity is just the trick we need to complete the onerous tasks. Wait, what I meant to say is, the cherished, significant work of our lives.