[Was teaching English with this lady worth it? Yes, I’d say so.]
On April 6th, I wrote two checks: one to the federal government and one to the state government. I cursived boldly because I was angry. I whined to my father that it didn’t seem right to take so much money from someone who made so little. I dipped into my savings to cover the amount of money I owed my country in taxes.
Frustration comes quickly when it comes to money. I’ve been working hard over the past year to save as much as possible, partly because I knew I’d be paying for grad school, and partly because somewhere in my imagination I’d love to buy a little house in the future. Every pay check, I’d put a little away, and I’d been hoping not to touch it for years.
Well, I had to.
It’s the first year I’ve ever owed the government. I’m used to getting a good chunk back (thank you! forced savings!), but this time, because I worked as a contracted employee teaching English last summer, I was the one in the red. Yes, I was fully aware when I took the job that I was responsible for the taxes. What I’d been hoping was that somehow it would all cancel out…I grumbled as I took money out of my account, and I grumbled as I mailed the checks.
But that’s exactly what savings are for, right?
Don’t we have them for expenses we’re not anticipating?
These are the words I know my father was thinking but didn’t say. These are the words I used to coach myself down from my anger. (It’s not like the roads are all well-paved and pothole-free because I paid my taxes. My bug is getting DESTROYED out there.)
I will say I benefit greatly from the Library Reads campaign that’s been happening in my town. And from the stop signs and traffic lights, sidewalks and what-have-you. Yes, taxes are a necessity, I know this.
So shouldn’t I be grateful that I had the money to pay these taxes? That I didn’t have to ask my parents to help their flummoxed daughter?
I feel this is the beginning of a lifelong balancing act between patriotism and my desire for autonomy.
Despite my half-joking prayers, God did not have my taxes miraculously paid for me. But he did enable me to save up to pay them myself.
So, I’m working on being grateful. Guess I’ll have to put off buying that luxury yacht another year.