Monday, April 12, 2010

How Mister Jackson-Hewitt Set Me Straight.

April 15th might be the national dreaded tax deadline, but, April 7th was the big day for me. It was my tax day, and it was both awesome and painful. 

The painful part started pretty much as soon as I walked in the door and sat down. The guy doing my taxes looked at me, turned his head to my W2 form, looked back at me and said after a prolonged silence, “You made this much the first six months of the year, and then you made this much the last six months?” He was referring, of course, to my salary as a CNN producer versus the bacon I’ve brought home as a freelance producer in Portland. No question, there was a huge gap.  

My immediate response was to ask him where the bathroom was located. Once there, my eyes welled up with tears and I thought: “What the hell have I done?”  It wasn’t that I missed the career I left behind or necessarily the city I spent 14 years in, but really, what was I doing with my life? 

I have no regrets with the choices I’ve made to get to Portland. But seven months after the big move I find myself at several crossroads with work, relationships, and finances. I’m still figuring things out and I’m learning I can’t balance it all - at least not right now.  

When I started the journey West it all made sense: Take the summer off. Bike more. Hike more. Find a place to live. It was easy. It felt right. It all worked out. 

When I sat back down across from Mister Jackson-Hewitt, who still had a suspicious look on his face, I said, “Look, I left a really good job to move out here, begin a new life and start my own business. Life just got in the way of things going perfectly.” And just like that he softened up and started hooking me up in ways small business owners get hooked up.  

The painful part was over.  

But later this week I was still dealing with the noise in my head about these tough professional and personal matters. So, over the next few days I did what I always do when I need to clear my head: I went hiking by myself and with friends. I also reunited with an old favorite of mine: the Dirty Martini. There’s something to be said about a good workout followed by the simplicity of a good stiff drink. 

And as I refocus and re-prioritize, yet again, I know the path I’m about to create is the right one: to find my place professionally and continue to build a foundation of friendships. Once I get that going the rest will fall into place.  

By the way, the awesome part of tax day is learning that I’m getting a really nice tax refund. So, I guess taking time off for myself, even if it was an extended amount of time, really has paid off.

(please click play button to watch video)


  1. Sometimes when I feel lost and overwhelmed with life, one of my favorite poems always brings me back home. ( :

    The Complaint of the Skeleton to Time

    Take my love, it is not true,
    So let it tempt no body new;
    Take my lady, she will sigh
    For my bed where’er I lie;
    Take them, said the skeleton,
    But leave my bones alone.

    Take my raiment, now grown cold,
    To give to some poor poet old;
    Take the skin that hoods this truth
    If his age would wear my youth;
    Take them, said the skeleton,
    But leave my bones alone.

    Take the thoughts that like the wind
    Blow my body out of mind;
    Take this heart to go with that
    And pass it on from rat to rat;
    Take them, said the skeleton,
    But leave my bones alone.

    Take the art which I bemoan
    In a poem’s crazy tone;
    Grind me down, though I may groan,
    To the starkest stick and stone;
    Take them, said the skeleton,
    But leave my bones alone.

    .................... Allen Ginsberg

  2. I've come back to read this a couple of times and really thank you for this.