Taxing times

I own a Mac, and I don’t own it because I want to be cool. I want a computer that when I turn it on, it works, and like most things with Apple, they do work. But a downside of the experience is the “Mac Tax”, the premium you (supposedly) have to pay over the price of another (cheaper) computer. It’s a tax I don’t mind paying–it’s worth it for a quality machine.

We all have to pay taxes of some sort (unless you live in Monaco), and most of us would rather not, or cut our tax bill. But what if you paid a tax, and was happy about it?

I was reading this post from Lori (thanks much!), and in the comments she wrote something that caught my eye–“optimism tax.” From a friend of hers, it’s what you need to pay sometimes to hold onto your belief in people. Here’s the origin of the idea. And here’s the takeaway quote…

I sporadically pay this fee (when people take advantage of my trust in goodness) in exchange for optimistic freedom.

If there is someone, or something, you believe in, what price are you willing to pay to keep that belief? Are you courageous enough to keep paying the bill when it comes due? Sometimes that bill may come in the form of a loud argument. Or complete silence.

If you believe in someone, and that belief isn’t quite returned, then what? I’m at the point in my life where if I meet someone whom I believe is special, I’m not going to abandon them. Being an introvert, I want to–have to–show I care in different ways, though it may not be returned. I’m willing to pay the tax because I believe. I’m willing to pay the tax because I have to fight keep my heart open in spite of disappointment.

I guess I’m feeling this way because I put my foot down and said I’m not allowing certain people out of my life. The ways that they are present with and in me may not be perfect. But as Salvador Dali said–Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.

Freedom has a price, so they say. And the price is the optimism tax. I have to pay the tax to keep people in my life. People I care about, people I love. I’m willing to pay the tax because I want these people in my life and I want to keep them there. Somehow, some way.


2 thoughts on “Taxing times

  1. Hi Chehaw~

    I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this idea. I believe that in many ways an open heart is its own reward–and I don’t mean that in a cheesy, cliche way. When you have an open heart, all kinds of good things can get in. You find inspiration where others might not see it. You see beauty where it may be faint. You experience the world with vulnerability and passion. That’s why I think I am willing to pay the optimist tax. It’s a far more wonderful world when I believe in people. Even if they occasionally disappoint me.

    Thanks for everything you shared. I hope the person you kept in your life realizes what a gift your presence is 🙂


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