The 3 of Hearts … an unusual assignment, not so much a task as a thought-experiment (like the one I did at the start of the year inspired by Thoreau), but this week’s card concerns taxes. A word with very little positive connotation. Not helped by the expression, “death and taxes” for which we can thank Benjamin Franklin.
Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.
The assignment is this: Think about your attitude towards taxes. Is there a way in which you just might see them differently?
I know what I had in mind when I set this assignment late last year (yes, as a reminder to those less familiar with the Deck of Small Change, I invented the assignments attached to each card, scheming up 52 things I thought I should do to change my relationship with money).
My attitude towards taxes isn’t complicated. They feel unjust (or unjustly high, let’s say), I resent them and I resent the paperwork that goes with them. I especially resent the sort of tax I pay on top of what comes out of my pay check. The latter involves money that never reaches me. The other sort is a much more visible penalty.
My attitudes towards taxes isn’t complicated. But I do see them this way … as a penalty. I haven’t based this attitude on specific assumptions about what government should and shouldn’t do for me, any particular points of view on public service or indeed anything at all to do with socio-political leanings. Not consciously, anyway.
My attitude is a child-like annoyance at having to be a grown-up. I feel the same about going to the dentist (never mind paying for the pleasure).
I wonder if I would feel differently about taxes if I stopped to think about them a little more deeply, at least for a few minutes anyway.
Until next Sunday, over and out
Oh and for those of you who cannot bear to think about taxes either — a friendly reminder if you live in the UK and have to self-assess … the online deadline arrives end of January. How could you forget? If you’re anything like me, this is entirely possible.