The Art of Exploration · a diary of day trips, natural places, and miscellaneous adventures

Tax Time

Thursday, April 1st, 2004 in Illinois
Tax Time

It’s that time of year again when, for several days straight, I rummage through checking account statements, reorganize files that have grown fat with paperwork, and rack my brain trying to recall where I last saw that receipt for the Salvation Army donations I made eleven months ago. Yes, it’s that time of year when my shoulders tense up to my ears as I suffer the self-made anxieties associated with doing my taxes.

Each year I proclaim I won’t let my files become so disorganized ever again. And still, each year I wade through yards of paperwork. But at least I’ve completed my tax chores for this year. I have completed the forms, written the checks, licked the stamps, and sealed the envelopes. Tomorrow the plump little packets will be sent off to Uncle Sam where they will hopefully be put to a bit of good use.

It’s at times like this — when I have to fill out forms and organize every little corner of my life in order to satisfy the taxman, a micro-manager, a loan officer, or an insurance company — that I feel the world is rigged so that average people throw most of their lives away to doing silly little things. It seems these days, our lives are consumed by paperwork and status meetings. I understand the need for accountability, responsibility, and all that. But everything — every form, every procedure, every hoop-jumping exercise — is becoming more time-consuming and complicated by the year. We are throwing away precious life energy and drowning in our own red tape.

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Assortment

Rabbit Mountain
Rabbit Mountain
Rabbit Mountain has become my default hiking location. If I don’t have time to drive up into the mountains, then I go to the foothills to Rabbit Mountain where I can still get a leg-burner of a hike in a short period of time.
Lakewood Forest Preserve
Lakewood Forest Preserve
After three months of biking eastward along the North Shore Bike Path, it was time to venture in the opposite direction. The only westbound bike path within reasonable distance of my house was the Millenium Path.
Fresh Start
Fresh Start
I’ve adopted a new tradition for New Year’s Eve. It requires no reservations, no fancy dress, no cash advance. I don’t have to wrangle taxis or drink cheap champagne or go home smelling like an ash tray.