When big things in your life fall apart, they create this ripple effect that disrupts smaller things which ultimately puts you in a place where you feel like the ground under your feet is crumbling and there's nothing you can do to stop it.
Obviously my catastrophic event was the cancer. The sick dad with the tight lips and even tighter held secrets regarding his health. My catastrophic event was months of uncertainty that sucked all of my attention away from everything else.
My catastrophic event's ripples were financial struggles in my business and personal life. Money spent on employees to keep my company running so I could spend days melting into my couch and staring at the wall wondering if I was completely broken yet and, if not, what that might feel like since my current state was already so bad. My ripples were money spent on vacations, clothes, good food, and other feel-good moments like someone had woven a life raft that could only hold me for a few hours at a time and I was happy to pay whatever price it took to stay afloat for longer. My ripples manifested in undone to-do's at work and a lack of follow up. Three months into this new year and I'm still sitting in a tangle of this ripple effect and attempting to slowly undo it, one knot at a time.
This week I got a bill from the IRS for 11,710.67. My accountants dropped the ball pretty hard on my 2016 taxes and my lack of focus on anything outside of my catastrophe meant that my taxes weren't ultimately filed until February of this year; almost a full year late.
Did you know that if you hire an accountant to do your taxes and they don't that it's actually your fault - not theirs?
Did you know that if you file late, the government charges you a whole stack of penalties?
Did you know that the IRS is actually surprisingly chill and willing to work with you?
Did you know that when the IRS sends you a bill about your finally filed taxes that they say the following in the letter to you?
"We understand that circumstances -- such as serious illness or injury, a family member's death, or loss of financial records due to a natural disaster -- may make it difficult for you to meet your taxpayer responsibility in a timely manner"
Did you know that when you call them to ask if they'd consider waiving thousands of dollars in penalties because actually last year your dad, your cousin, and your grandfather all died within three months of each other and it was a touch overwhelming that they do it, no questions asked?
Did you know that when you cry with relief on the phone to the woman at the IRS who randomly answered your call and waived her magic IRS wand to eliminate your penalties that she takes the time to comfort you and tell you everything is going to be okay?
Me either. But I do now.