Tax Time!

Oh joy. Time for us to submit our taxes again. I got mine finished over the weekend, after starting them about a month ago. I typically do that to get a rough estimate on how much I’m going to owe (or get back), so that I can be sure to be prepared when the time comes. But then my inherent laziness steps in, and I wait until much closer to the deadline.

And as my friend Dan always points out, the Simpsons say it best:

Then again, the yearly ritual of doing my taxes is also a great time to take a look back and see how things are going on the whole, financially speaking. For a good long while during COVID, I was worried about the stability of my job and the future in general. (I’m still worried about my university, mind you. There are plenty of signs about just how much trouble we’re in. That’s not unique to my institution by any means. I think higher education in America has a whole slew of problems coming up, but that’s a topic for a different post.)

So when I took the time to actually run the numbers, I was surprised and more than a little grateful to discover 2021 actually turned out to be the best year for Denisa and me ever, from a financial standpoint, this despite the uncertainty at times over whether she’d have classes to teach. In the end, she taught 5 classes and took on several additional responsibilities at the university that compensated her more. I taught a class myself, and I had the best year I’ve ever had as an author.

Mind you, this doesn’t mean I’m just sitting over here in Maine, swimming in my Scrooge McDuck money pool. My grand total of authorly earnings this year, once you take out taxes, paid for . . . about 1/4 of my kitchen renovation. True, the renovation ended up being more expensive than I thought it would be, but I made more money as an author than I thought I would have, so that kind of balances out.

However, I also think it’s important to look at the good things that are happening, and making an honest-to-goodness profit off my writing is definitely a very good thing. There was a long time when I wondered if writing would ever do anything for me. It was a hobby with aspirations. Now it’s a trumped up side hustle with big dreams. 🙂

So while this all means that I had to pay a fair bit more in taxes than I’ve paid in previous years (say goodbye to any hope of a refund), I’m much more focused on the cause of that, rather than the effect. All my problems are not magically solved, but I’m grateful they aren’t worse than they could have been. If that’s not the most 2020’s-ish thing to say, I don’t know what is.

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