Circling the drain at tax time

Today I got around to doing my taxes and it turns out, for the 11th year in a row, I made no money.

Once again, I operated at a loss.

I am really a happy person as long as I don’t have to consciously face the fact that I make no money. But as soon as I have to add up all the numbers, I get really depressed, and sad, and I begin to seriously wonder:

What the hell am I doing??

What kind of dream world do I think I am I living in that I think I can afford to go tripping merrily along, teaching my classes, working on my little projects, while other people underwrite my existence?

(Apparently I am a freaking genius, though, at getting other people to fund my existence.)

Bur how fair is this? I should be making a living wage, right? Funding my own existence. Pulling my weight. But instead, a bunch of people (who love me) underwrite me and my schemes.

And I know they love me. And I know that I am not an impostion on them, and in some way it is okay that I live like this. But still, at tax time, when I see it all laid out in horrible numbered columns on an Excel spreadsheet? I begin to circle the drain.

It’s pretty terrifying.

What am I doing wrong? Am I a failure? Am I devaluing myself? Should I be charging more? Should I give up the lounge and reduce my rent?

How come ordinarily it feels so wonderfully perfect to be doing what I am doing, and yet at tax time when I see that I don’t make a dime I get so depressed?

A few months ago I went through this Money Map thing. It was an extensive series of exercises that had me put a dollar value on everything I did. Everything. It took me a long time to complete, not to mention a lot of soul-searching, but at the end I had figured out how much money I would have to make, per month, to be “Minimally happy”, then “Preferably happy”, and finally, “Fantastically happy.”

I just now looked up that exercise and laughted.

Ridiculous.

And then I just re-read my post from last night where I was blithering on and on about my amped life, my great classes, my wonderful students, my new client, and now today?

I feel like shit. I feel like I have been undervaluing myself.

And yet I know (because I had to do all that Money Map research) that in my market, I can’t charge any more than I am for what I do.

So what do I do?

How’s It Going?

I had to see my accountant today for the dreaded doing of the taxes.

Hagar wears his hair in a gray crew cut, military-style, that, oddly enough, looks kinda cool on him. He does it stick-straight up like a newly sprouted lawn.

After the initial handshake and how-di-do’s he says, “How’s it going?”

Now, when your accountant asks you “How’s it going?” you have to assume he means  fiscally.  As in, are you making a profit? how’s your bottom line?” But not with Hagar. “How’s it going?” could mean, “Are you happy doing what you’re doing?”

So I answer that question. I say:

“Great. I’m happy. My students seem happy. Everybody’s doing well as far as I can tell: learning how to breathe, stay cool, vanquish the stress monster, like that.”

That’s what I say, because the Excel spreadsheet gives him the other side of that, which is: I showed a loss.  But even showing a loss he said what I did this year was “remarkable, really great.”  He said given where I am, the county I live in, where my business is located, what I am doing is “incredible.”

And this from a financial perspective.

Never has loss felt so nice.

Cat and Taxes

I’ve been putting it off.  I always put it off.  Is it hard?  Not really.  Is it interesting? Not at all.

I don’t even DO them, per se.  I have an accountant who is a whiz and finds me all kinds of deductions, plus he’s a character and I like him.  But what I do have to do is get ready for him.  I have to get all my receipts and other little pieces of paper that I throw into a box that says “Begin Anywhere” on the front of it and organize them.

There was a time not long ago when I really got into GTD.  For a day.  (GTD stands for “Getting Things Done” and it’s a great system, but I can’t do it.  I did buy a labeler though, just to show you how serious I was.  I do like the labeler, but I don’t use it. Or I did use it in one mad flurry of labeling and then got bored.

So it snowed today. Everything was closed, even the University.  I canceled my Yoga for Moods class and just hung out, reading, doinking around online, doing dishes, and then I finally decided to Get Things Done!

I hauled out my Begin Anywhere box, put This American Life on the speakers in the bedroom (which annoyed the hell out of the cat) and began s-p-r-e-a-d-i-n-g  0-u-t.  The cat (who cannot get by on less than 23 hours sleep a day) began to get alarmed.

Here’s how it rolled:

It begins

You're starting to get on my nerves

WTF

I hate taxes!