Lives of quiet desperation during tax season.

Image (C) Julie R. Neidlinger
"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation...But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things."-- Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience and Other Essays

Quiet desperation rears its ugly head most often during income tax season.

For example, today as I sat down across from the accountant to hand over a few sheets of paper that symbolized a year's worth of work, knowing I'd be paying many hundreds of dollars to her for the privilege of having a percentage of that money given to the government, I felt a quiet desperation.

Should I be embarrassed at how low my income is?

Should I worry what the accountant is thinking about my work as a freelancer and making a judgment on me based on what ended up being a slow year?

Should I be concerned at the shift in clients from one year to the next and the fog of future war?

"What's your best guess for next year's income?" she asked.

That's a fantastic question that desperate freelancers everywhere want to know.

You want to guess high enough to not incur a penalty, but not so high that the quarterly payments are more brutal than usual. A pound of flesh is a pound of flesh, but I'd rather it was taken from a non-vital area if possible.

So I throw a number out there and want to tell the world of younger people who are scrambling to live their dream and find meaning and impact the world and refuse to live a life of common daily work that that's all well and good, but once a year you have to make your income estimate.


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