Thursday, 10 April 2014

Death And Taxes

On November 22, 2012, just over 16 months ago, the senior neurologist at Foothills Hospital proffered up the final confirmation of my diagnosis; ALS. The attending neurologist had told me the day before, and had given me a timeline of, most likely, about 36 months. On confirming the diagnosis, the senior neurologist asked me if there was anything I wanted to do yet in my life. Oddly enough, I said "not really". His response was "If there is anything you want to do, do it sooner rather than later."

Then I went to the ALS clinic. The same issue came up, what I wanted to do with the time I had left. It's a tough discussion. Money was big on my mind; I didn't know how I would live once I stopped working. The counselor said "Worry more about living in the moment, living now, and not so much about what's going to happen two or three years from now. You don't know what is going to happen then, but you know what you can do right now."

This was an unusual position for me. I had always planned, thought about the future, worried about paying my bills and taxes. Now here I was in a position where multiple medical professionals were telling me that long term planning was a bad idea, that I shouldn't think so much about tomorrow. There advice was essentially that I should go from ant to grasshopper, that my view should become short term, a live for today kind of existence.

I took that advice, especially last year while I was still reasonably mobile. I took some big road trips, enjoying my time both behind the wheel and in the hotels. I ate well, drank well, slept well and had couple of terrific trips. It's not as if I spent foolishly or spent as if there was no tomorrow. Even the shortest term view for me looks forward at least 6 months these days. After that, it's a crap shoot. I had, however, decided that I was going to enjoy what life I had left, denying myself only when self-denial was about protection and common sense, not about money or fear.

Of course the end result of this is that I chewed through money pretty good last year. My tax bill for last year is living proof of the certainty of taxes, and my ultimate demise will be dying proof of the certainty of death. My hope is that I die with a really big tax bill and a really small bank account. When I talked to my accountant recently about the size of my tax bill, and trust me, it ain't small, I found myself oddly unworried about it. After all, I am sure they will get theirs. They may just have to wait a while.

1 comment:

  1. And they will get it later rather than sooner . The tax man cometh no matter what. I am happy you enjoyed your time. That is mostly all I am happy about as far as your life is concerned except that you are still here. love you