Photo Courtesy of the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, Montgomery County Audubon Collection, and Zebra Publishing
This post was originally written and published on April 20, 2022 via Substack.
Today’s post is a diary of sorts — thoughts leftover from a stressful couple of months. It’s also a post I almost didn’t hit publish on, but I think there’s something to be learned from it.
Do you know the origin of the quote surrounding the certainty of death and taxes? It’s typically attributed to a letter Benjamin Franklin wrote in November 1789 to French scientist Jean-Baptiste Le Roy about the Constitution. In this letter, he actually foreshadowed his death that would come the next year. The quote is believed to be his last great quote.
Here’s the full quote:
“Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
However, according to Freakonomics,
“The Yale Book of Quotations quotes “‘Tis impossible to be sure of anything but Death and Taxes,” from Christopher Bullock, The Cobler of Preston (1716). The YBQalso quotes “Death and Taxes, they are certain,” from Edward Ward, The Dancing Devils (1724).”
I don’t think it matters who first introduced the concept of certainty over death and taxes. What does matter is whether it’s true.
I’m sitting at my computer on April 15, 2022 (three days before the actual 2022 tax deadline because today is Good Friday), sipping my morning coffee, hoping to write something profound and knowing it’s been a minute since I showed up to the keyboard.
A lot has happened since I was last here.
I mean… I’ve been at “a keyboard,” just not this keyboard—the writing keyboard.
For those who are just joining me, I’m a CPA, a tax accountant in the U.S., and I wear a different hat from the writing hat from about January 15 through April 15, as I work seasonally completing tax returns and helping people with the tax issues they face.
We all face certain… events, if you will… in life. There’s no way around the ups and downs of life. Only through. Sometimes (most times), these events occur at the worst possible moments, but that’s because there’s never a good time to go through one of life’s trials.
In the middle of my busy work schedule of tax season (that’s what the pros call the period of January to April), my family was forced to face something that will change our lives… is changing our lives. It’s not something I’m ready to talk about, but it did feel strange to be in a place of despair during yet another tax season.
I’ve written before about the death of my mother occurring on April 2, 2012, which ended my tax season early that year. It was, by far, the worst tax season for me in 26 years of doing this, not because of taxes, but because of death.
While both death and taxes are certain, and both have the ability to gut punch you unexpectedly, only one of those assholes has the ability to permanently change you as a human being. (Yes, we could probably argue that point.)
A few days have passed. It’s now April 20, and my colleagues and I have survived another season of tax returns.
I left what I wrote above sitting in the queue thinking I probably would never publish it. I realized at the time I was writing, that I was being vague about something personal, and I hate when people do that.
[Insert shrug. Move on.]
But as I sit here today, relieved that the 2022 tax season (2021 filing season) has come to an end, I’m excited to ponder what’s next. That’s the kind of person I am. I move from one thing to the next in an attempt to get the most that I can from our short time here.
While I am still grappling with a life event — something that is literally scaring the life out of me — I’m excited about the future. I’m excited to travel, spend time with family and friends, and write the next Paynes Creek novel.
As I’ve said before, I will show up here, on this Substack, to tell stories of “the people, places, and things that inspire, intrigue, and, quite frankly, scare me into discomfort.”
This week’s post just happens to be a little bit about a “thing” that is frightening me.
And I know we all have those “things.” We all deal with family illnesses, aging parents, accidents, and injuries. We all face financial struggles and job losses. No one is immune to disappointments and failures.
It’s how we get through these life events that’s the real story, right? Who is there for us? How do we show up for others when they are in need? Because, if you haven’t already learned this the hard way, we truly find out who our friends are during times of hardship—theirs and our own.
As a matter of fact, I would love to hear from you. Are you going (or have you gone) through something? Have you figured out a way to face that “thing” head on and continue living despite its prevalence in your life? How are you doing it? How do you take care of yourself when the world around you is crumbling? What philosophy, mantra, or religion do you subscribe to that helps you through these things? Did you discover who your true friends were?
Either hit reply to this newsletter or tell me in the comments to this post your story. I would really love to hear from you.
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