The extended 4th of July holiday here in the states was a do or die situation in The Wealthy Accountant offices this year. Illness had plagued me for some time and became acute just as tax season got underway. The pain was exquisite and unrelenting. It was time to decide if I can continue doing the things I most love.
In July I published a late post letting readers and clients know where things stand. You can read the prior post if you wants details from the trenches.
Things have changed a lot in the last three months. Clients and readers should be pleased my health has improved enough that I no longer consider health issues an existential crisis.
The second part of this post is an update on Camp Accountant.
Check-in or Check Out?
My writing process requires time. Usually I have a good idea what I will write about days in advance. As I think about the topic I gather materials and scribble notes. This post is no different.
Where this post is different is the material covered. I always want to tell a story that engages, drawing the reader in. Repeating what I already published seemed redundant to me and since this post is really an extension of the post linked above I will pick up where I left off.
Thinking about the nature of my illness caused ideas to keep flooding my mind. For the first time in my adult life I seriously had to consider retirement and an old nemesis returned: depression. I prefer discussions of solutions over complaining about the inequalities of life.
Earlier this summer, I had to face the real possibility of life without purpose. What would I do if I no longer could do what I was good at?
I visualized a life of leisure with stacks of books and nothing to do all day long. As much as I love reading and books I knew a life of accumulating knowledge I would never use or share was still meaningless. And longtime readers of this blog know my disdain for travel.
That is when this little verse popped into my head:
Don’t check out and travel the world;
Check-in and change the world.
I don’t know what you can do with that. It sums up my philosophy on life. Hopefully these words give you the motivation to do great things.
When health declines strange thoughts enter the brain. My journey is not done. There are many things I must do; things that could change the world at least for one person. I now know this blog is only practice for a much larger stage. I also know, from this blog, that I do not handle the large stage well so I need plenty of practice.
When the purpose is important enough you will find a way. Somehow God, life, something, just comes together to make important things come to life. Our worst moments of life eventually become the most important events of life. True value is impossible without these moments of crisis.
All I know is that I am not ready to check out. This blog and my accounting career have more room the run; things that must be done.
But there is one more thing I must do. Something so important (in my egotistical mind) it will change the world for the better for at least a few people. I wish I could flesh it out here and now, but you would not understand without the full context. All I can say for now is that it will start with a TEDx talk, a book and a larger public presentation. It will be the hardest thing I have ever done; the hardest thing I will ever do. And I have to stand in the light on a stage. And travel.
You see, I had to get well enough (and experienced enough) to complete these tasks.
Before you think I flipped my rocker, let me say that my purpose will change the world for at least a small number of people. Not at the level of Bill Gates, Elon Musk or Steve Jobs. No, my earth shattering world change may only make a difference in the life of only one. But for that one person it will mean everything. And the odds are good more than one will be served. Too much is at stake to be diverted over a simple illness.
What was Wrong with TWA
The short version of my illness is I had a sinus and lung infection that required several rounds of antibiotics to resolve. Recovery is still in progress.
The cause of the infection probably came from a serious issue with acid reflux. Several years ago I noticed reflux issues but thought little of it. Acid reflux is such a minor issue (in my mind) that it didn’t need attention.
Jogging would cause coughing bouts. Even flying was an issue. (Maybe that is why I hate traveling so much?) As the reflux worsened I reduced my workouts to adjust and my diet declined. Weight went on and round and round we go down the drain.
The doctor said the acid reflux did not cause the infections (in her opinion). The infection just made the reflux more noticeable. I disagree. I would wake up at night choking. It was painful. It felt like it got in my lungs.
Regardless if the chicken preceded the egg, I ended up with a serious infection coupled with serious acid reflux. I was unable to talk and breathing was difficult. And I was in constant pain.
The infection is gone; the acid reflux is more of a constant friend. Diet and exercise improved after the infection was removed. (I gained nearly 40 pounds!) I can talk again to the chagrin of family and employees. I can even sing in church on Sunday morning, though I would not sit too close. I’ve been know to etch glass with my voice. Now we will see if my voice survives the upcoming tax season.
Where do We Go from Here?
There is no doubt I took the additional time allotted me while I healed to reflect on what life means to me.
I enjoy my work and always have. There is more work than any one man or business can handle. That is a hard lesson for me; the ability to say “No” when it is the right thing to say.
Just because you can do something does not mean you should!
The tax practice lives on. Current clients stay. I will not say I will never add another new client. What I am saying is that any new client will probably be local. I can’t be everything to everyone, taking the most complex tax returns from around the country. (Refer to the point before this paragraph.)
This blog also stays. The once per week publishing schedule works nice and if I want to pound out a few other ideas I’ve been working on I can always have an extra post now and again.
To compensate for fewer clients (some old clients leave and fewer replace them) I will focus on helping the largest number of people with a course on taxes tips. (News coming soon!) The same questions keep coming up again and again. With a course I can say it once and help thousands instead of one-on-one. A few other courses are also planned.
Consulting is still on. My consulting this year is way down due to that nasty loss of voice. If you contacted me on a consulting session you may hear from me soon. While consulting is still a go, understand I can’t consult with every request I get. There are just too many and I really do not want a relapse of the first half of this year.
And then we come to Camp Accountant.
Yes, Camp Accountant is now a real thing! Use the link for details and sign up.
Several false starts have finally ended in a real Camp. Changes were important. In the past I was pushed to do a Camp by someone else’s rules and it kept falling apart. I finally decided to have the Camp right where I want it: a short walk from my tax office. (Sorry Colorado fans. The Upper Midwest also needs some love too.)
I also decided I would run it my way. These things are a lot of work and I was expecting somebody else to do all the lifting. My contribution would be showing up. That wasn’t working.
Instead of the traditional FI and FIRE camps around the country, I settled on a one-day event. I brought in two speakers and all attendees get a Wealthy Accountant t-shirt. We also will tour my office so the proletariat can see how the bourgeoisie works in his natural habitat. Warning! You might be underwhelmed.
The morning will be presentations with guest speakers. I will share thoughts on the topic as well. After a nature walk to my office and lunch I will give a presentation followed by a Q&A. (Think of the Q&A as a consulting session without the cost.) If no one has any questions (that would be a first) I have an additional topic to cover.
Camp Accountant should be fun and informative. It is for everyone looking to build wealth, reach financial independence and make a difference. CPAs, enrolled agents and attorneys get CPE, but this doesn’t mean only these people will benefit. We are offering the CPE so these professionals can get a tax deduction as they satisfy their continuing education requirements.
I hope no one was too worried about my health. People were asking so I thought it best to publish an update. Camp Accountant is something people have asked for as well. I am very happy this is happening.
Now I am working to keep balance so I don’t relapse. I am grateful for the best clients and readers anywhere. This is important to me because I know it helps you. So I repeat:
Don’t check out and travel the world;
Check-in and change the world.
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