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Expectation Tax

I am not an accountant.

I really don't understand much about how taxes work. I just know that I pay them.

Once a year, after "doing our taxes," one of two things happens:

I either owe money or get money.

I don't know if there's such a thing as being even.

Perhaps I haven't lived long enough to experience that yet.


Earlier this week, it was the last day of school before the summer break for our kids.

We have a small tradition as a family of going out for pizza to a restaurant in town, to celebrate their last day. It started last year and now it's something we look forward to.

We hadn't eaten from this restaurant in a while, so on this particular day I skimped out on my other meals so that I could indulge in some great pizza with my family at dinner.

We also have a big summer trip coming up and I was keen to talk about it more with the kids over dinner.

Then, as we were leaving our house, our daughter had a tantrum.

The tantrum continued several minutes into our time at the restaurant.

There were many moments where I said to her that I would just take her home to have toast and peas for dinner instead. I was serious.

After all that expectation, the pizza celebration meal did not go as planned.


I've been reflecting on expectations a lot recently.

Mostly because I've been feeling the pain of expectations going unmet a lot recently.

That pain is like owing money on your taxes.

Often, we build up expectations about a particular moment. Sometimes it's a series of moments stretched out over time.

When that moment lives up to our expectations, we're even.

When that moment surpasses our expectations, it's like getting money back on your taxes.

And when that moment doesn't live up to our expectations, we owe money. The bigger the gap, the more we owe.


Like I said, I'm not an accountant.

I don't know how to manage what I do throughout a given year, so that I can increase my chances of getting money back on my taxes.

What I do know, is that I can manage my expectations.

Regardless of whether you're an accountant or not, you can do that too.

Manage yourself accordingly, dear reader.

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