A Refreshing Change

February 04, 2006

For the first time since 1999 I am getting a tax refund. In fact, when all three of my tax returns are combined (one federal and two state) I will net a tidy sum. Given the difficulties my taxes have represented for the last 5 years this is a huge boost to my overall sense of well being. My only regret is that Michele isn't alive to see a return to normalcy around this issue.

I am by no means out of the woods with my taxes; in fact I will be paying off my past debt for some time to come. The refund this year represents a movement away from the situations and behaviors that got me into trouble in the first place. That my addiction to financial chaos caused Michele pain and suffering wounded me deeply. I'm not sure I'll ever completely forgive myself for visiting upon her the same kind of out-of-control financial stress that plagued her childhood.

The rational, intelligent part of me knows I should earmark the entire return to paying down the amount I still owe from years past. The caregiver in me feels I should reward myself with at least some of the money; if I never get any rewards it won't reinforce the behaviors that led to the refund in the first place. In the end I suspect I'll set aside some portion of the money to give me a cushion against the unexpected, and pass along the remainder to Uncle.

Michele, I know you would be proud of me for stepping up this year and meeting my obligation completely, and well before the deadline. I only wish I had been able to eliminate this type of chaos more when you were alive.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.