Ready or Not: Pay Those Taxes and Move On

“Getting my first job was a sign of independence.”

I don’t know about you, but I remember the months leading up to my 16th birthday and how excited I was to finally be able to get a job. My first job. I had no complaints because I worked with children in a daycare. Those precious babies gave me such joy during the time I worked there. Regardless of what was going on with the adults or someone’s constant need to go on a power trip, I could always count on the children to be full of light, love, and positivity.

For me, getting my first job was a sign of independence. While I could still pester my father to cover the cost of larger expenses, I was able to pay for things on my own. If I wanted to go to the mall with my friends, all I needed to worry about was getting a ride to one of the several options near our town. It was a great feeling being able to pay for my own things…most of the time. Reflecting on that period of my life, it was pretty great. My parents didn’t ask me to contribute to bills or use my salary to pay for anything—my money was mine. Outside of paying my tithe and sending funds to my sponsored child, everything I earned remained in my bank account. Well, almost everything.

This brings me to today’s topic: taxes. Fellow navigator, I get it. Taxes are the bane of many people’s existence. I mean, we go to work and put in our time just to turn around and have the government say they want a piece of our earnings. I don’t think I would mind as much if I actually saw where my tax dollars went. The problem is that just about every other month or so news breaks about people misappropriating funds or companies getting contracts to develop a city and not finishing the job.

Despite my personal feelings when it comes to paying taxes, I do it anyway. Why? Because, after 20+ years of living in this country, I’ve learned that you do not mess with Uncle Sam. Yup. That’s it. That’s the post for today. The state and federal governments are not to be toyed with. They want their money, and they want it when they say they should get it. If you fail to file taxes by April 15th, the government has no problem bringing down the full weight of its power and hitting you with ridiculous fees until you pay them what you owe.

What’s the solution to avoiding all of the mayhem that could potentially come your way? Pay your taxes. I’ve been fortunate enough that I’ve never actually had to do my taxes myself. While I don’t think it is a difficult task, I find it to be one of those things that I would rather leave in the hands of a professional. With that said, if you are not in a position to hire a CPA to take care of your taxes, there are alternatives.

“I’ve learned that you do not mess with Uncle Sam.”

TurboTax and H&R Block are two giants in this space that offer software programs that make doing your taxes easy. Now, let’s be clear, these programs are ideal if you are not necessarily looking to exhaust all possible deductions and are willing to do a little bit of outside research to fully understanding that you’re not just plugging in numbers. If you’re not the organized type or don’t care to take a day or two to sit down and navigate the portals, the programs may not be for you. With that said, the price tag for one of these software programs is a lot more palatable than paying an accountant several hundreds of dollars.

Whether we like it or not, taxes are here to stay. Unless you want the government coming after you or living a life where your existence is unknown, the best thing to do is to just give them their portion of your earnings and be done with it. Honestly report what you make and how much you owe because the last thing you want is to be audited—a post for another day.

Fellow navigator, how do you feel about paying taxes? Do you do your taxes yourself (with the help of a software program), or do you pay an accountant to handle it for you? Tell me about it!

See Me: Why I’m Still Single After College

Answering an Age-Old Question

Back in undergrad, it was not unusual for me to return home for break and get asked about my dating life. In fact, it was almost always the question posed by some church ladies who seemed to know something I didn’t. Well, it turns out they really did! Apparently, college was (and probably still is) the best time to try and land yourself a man.

While my previous comment is made in jest, I’ve found that there might be some truth to it. I mean, think about it. During your undergrad years, you’re typically away from home and allowed to reinvent yourself into the person you want to be. You can experiment with your sexuality, explore new interests, and see how you function while not under the watchful eye of mom and dad. Honestly, it’s during your college years that you find out who you are and what you’re made of.

If it’s true that you discover who you are during undergrad, then it makes total sense that a relationship formed at this time could potentially last forever. Right? I mean, you’re both being your true selves and figuring life out as you go. There’s no need for pretenses because you have nothing to hide since all the cards are on the proverbial table.

After thinking long and hard about this, I wondered why I hadn’t maximized my college years to meet my Mr. Right. For all I know, he could’ve been the guy in my English lit class or a panelist at one of the business conferences I attended. We could’ve gone to the same embassy networking events or been at the National Mall at the same time. Why hadn’t I put in the energy required to stick my head out of my books to take notice of the tall, beautiful, educated Black men around me?

Well, fellow navigator, I didn’t do any of those things because I was, you know, getting an education. Although I had a pretty decent social life during undergrad, the majority of my time was spent focused on my studies. I mean, I wasn’t going to college to catch a man. I was going to college to learn and set myself up for a bright future filled with endless possibilities.

Knowing what I know about myself now, I think getting into a serious relationship during undergrad would’ve been detrimental because I would have lost focus. My life would have centered around that man and his happiness; I would not have put much thought into pursuing my own goals. Why do I say that? Because that tends to be what happens. While this is not the case for everyone, I find that women often make more compromises in relationships when it comes to careers. We’re the ones who get pregnant and carry a baby in our stomachs for months at a time. We’re expected to go on maturity leave to raise that child. We tend to earn less, so we end up taking a back seat as our spouses climb the professional career ladders. If this is not true for you, then more power to you.

During my single years, I have been afforded opportunities to do things I never thought I could or would. There have been no compromises made on my end, except for the things that I, and I alone, have chosen not to do or involve myself in. I have come into my own as a woman who knows what she wants, who she is, and where she desires to be in life. Why am I still single? Because I want to be.

If I’m completely honest, while it’s been difficult at times returning to an empty home, I wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had for marriage. Meaning, if I knew it would take 30+ years without a spouse for me to become who I am now, I’d willingly tell God to let me live my life solo. I know that the man I end up with will see value and beauty in all I have gone through and have to contribute to our relationship. I know he will appreciate my strong sense of self-awareness. I’m confident he will realize that the woman he sees and loves would not be who she is without all she has gone through.

I have come into my own as a woman who knows what she wants, who she is, and where she desires to be in life.

— Ethleen Sawyerr

So, to answer the age-old question, I’m still single because I’m living my life as I should. When the right man comes into the picture, that could all change. But, until then, I will continue to do what makes me happy and feel fulfilled. My spouse is meant to complement, not complete, me. What about you, fellow navigator? How do you respond when people ask you why you’re still single? Tell me about it!