Tax Day is tomorrow. One part of the famous idiom uttered by Benjamin Franklin, “…but in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
Yes, Tax Day is tomorrow for most people, but not for me. This year, as in the past three, I’ve filed an extension. Why? The answer is simple. Being an adult is hard! I’d feel worse about being on the tax filing struggle bus year-after-year, if not for one mantra I’ve learned: most of our worries won’t matter 10-years from now.
I would like to think I can find the time to squeeze in tax prep while raising a child, keeping my marriage happy, working both in a career and agency I love, and managing to keep food in the fridge and clean clothes on our backs. But so what if I can’t? Will it truly matter 10-years from now? It could if I never filed my taxes (which I don’t, so don’t come for me IRS). But in the grander picture of my life, its celebrations, obligations and inspirations; filing my taxes sometime during the summer when we finally get it done doesn’t hurt, it helps.
It helps me remember I am not a superhuman capable of keeping 50 balls in the air without letting any drop.
I’m not advocating for unending procrastination; but rather, a closer look at prioritizing all of the moments that make up a life. I relate the perception-shifting “10-year rule” to taxes, but I see so many colleagues, friends and family bottleneck their happiness and progress by putting too much emphasis on items that will likely go unremembered in the space of 10-hours let alone ten years.
Stepping back to reexamine the level of importance you’re assigning a given moment based on its presence in your not-so-distant-future will help you gain perspective and deal with your freak out moment with a clearer head. One that is capable of separating the crappy feeling you get in your gut when you realize you should have put your Instagram scrolling aside and picked up a copy of Turbo Tax instead; from the nagging, emotional reaction you get when you know you’ve messed up royally on an issue that is deeply important to you. Assigning the same level of freak out to every bump in the road is not an effective tool for leading a productive and happy life.
So, let’s all be kinder to our present selves. Remember our future us will not be worrying about the minor items that might have experienced some minor delay along the way. Instead, save your mindshare for tackling those really big issues that are life-changing and career-making.
Happy Tax Day!