I have read much about forgiveness.  Forgiving others and forgiving ourselves are both important for maintaining inner peace and reducing stress.  What I have found is how difficult that is when you are trying to be better, improve and forgive yourself but are jeered by those who know your mistakes.  It’s like Dan Quayle speaking on the importance of good spelling.  Some people just won’t let you live down the mistake.  They just won’t forgive you.  It’s at these times we have to consciously remind ourselves that the failing is theirs, not ours.  If you have acknowledge the mistake, taken responsibility for it, tried to make amends when possible and work to not make the same mistake again, then you can forgive yourself and ignore jeers of those trying to bring you down.  Always easier said than done.  It’s a process and one that takes work. Just don’t give up and decide they are right or that you might as well just be what they think you are.

We can rebuild him…we have the technology

When I was between 17 -19 years old, I made a conscious effort to change myself. Up to that point I was shy, awkward, poorly dressed, overweight, etc.  I took a look at myself and decided I was not what I wanted to be so I made improvements.  Now, this isn’t to say I hated myself or I was becoming something I wasn’t, I mean I was taking on my own style and improving what was already there.

Fast forward to to today.  My life has taken an unexpected turn and left me to wonder who I am now.  Being single again after 16 years means having to figure out what my role is.  To complicate matters, I was never very good at being alone to begin with.  I’m a very social animal, I crave affection and genuinely love sharing my thoughts, feelings and experiences.  Unlike breaking up with my high school girlfriend where we got to go our separate ways, I have three lovely daughters with my ex-wife so our lives will be connected for many years to come.

What I have learned so far:

  1. It takes a lot of maturity.  You’re each going to move on, one probably faster than the other.  You need to get used to the idea of your former lover being with another person.  You can’t change it, only accept it.
  2. You are no longer responsible for their protection. I felt like it was my job as husband to protect my wife.  I didn’t always succeed and I may have done it all wrong, but it was always my intention to prevent harm.  That just cannot be the case any longer.  While I think it is possible to be friends, you just cannot be there for them 100%.
  3. Focus on the present. I used to put many of my hobbies to the side. Having a family is difficult and requires a lot of energy and work.  After coming home from a long day at work, doing some housework, maybe cooking dinner, you want to chill with the kids and spouse a bit.  Before you know it, it’s time to start the bedtime routine.  During all that, you can split your time but that generally means not being able to focus completely on one thing.  Now, when I am alone, I can focus on my hobbies.  When the kids are there, I can focus on them.
  4. Find what makes you happy.  Now I have more free time when the kids are not with me.  I had put many of my hobbies to the side as I just didn’t have the energy or focus for them.  Now I am working on what I think is most important.  It is also giving me something to focus on. Right now, that means picking up my trumpet again, more sewing and costuming, spending time with friends and just getting comfortable with myself.
  5. Identify and fix weaknesses. I am the first person to take responsibility for my actions.  I don’t back down from my mistakes.  However, this experience taught me I still had a lot of fear and insecurities in me.  Knowing that will help me make better decisions in the future, not the least of which is staying in a relationship when I am unhappy just because I don’t want to be along.
As time goes on, I’m sure this list would be added to.  Perhaps in a year, I can look back and see how close I hit the mark and if I was able to do some of the things I intend to do.

Sales and Use Tax for the Little People

I have operated or help operate a few small businesses over the years.  Many people turn a hobby they love into a business or discover there is a need to be met using a skill they have.  Most of the time they want to do the thing they set out to do, organize homes, write, sew products, etc and don’t want to take the time to learn how to “run a business”.  That’s all fine until you are a success and realize that the State would like a little part of what you have been doing.  About this time, the accountant is called and the process or sorting it all out begins.

To help those who are just getting into it, there are a few things you can do to make it a little easier on your accountant at that time.

  1. Keep all your purchases for your business separate.  You don’t need a separate account, though that is best, but you need to keep reciepts to know what went out.
  2. Keep a record of your sales.  This can be anything from handwritten invoices to spreadsheet downloads from sites like Etsy or Paypal.  
  3. Be as detailed as you can.  If you sell widgets and ship them and offer discounts all of that is important information.  Where you are performing the serivce or mailing products is also important since you have to pay taxes to the state where this happens.  The giggler here is that the amount you charge to ship items is also taxable.
  4. If there is even the slightest chance this will be a business, just get a dba (Doing Business As) if you have a separate name and request a tax number from the state.  It is low cost (under$20) and will same you a few headaches in the future if things take off.
  5. File your reports.  The state does not care that you are doing well, just what you are doing that they can tax.  Even if you have no sales, you need to files a Sales and Use tax short form each quarter letting the state know.
  6. If you have employees, you’ll need a federal ID number and you’ll want to get some professional help at that point as there are MANY rules the small proprietor will have trouble knowing about.  There are also lots of fun new forms and taxes to pay.
That’s the short version.  Just make sure if the state comes calling, to be prompt and poilte especially if you have to go to the locale office and talk to someone.  They are just doing their jobs and like most of us will help those who are nice to them.

Polonius’ Advice to Laertes

As good today as it was 400 years ago…
A father’s advice to his son how to conduct himself in the world: Don’t tell all you think, or put into action thoughts out of harmony or proportion with the occasion. Be friendly, but not common; don’t dull your palm by effusively shaking hands with every chance newcomer. Avoid quarrels if you can, but if they are forced on you, give a good account of yourself. Hear every man’s censure (opinion), but express your own ideas to few. Dress well, but not ostentatiously. Neither borrow nor lend. And guarantee yourself against being false to others by setting up the high moral principle of being true to yourself.
Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportion’d thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar;
The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch’d, unfledg’d comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but, being in,
Bear ‘t that th’ opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man.
Neither a borrower, nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
William Shakespeare.