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How Laundry is My Saving Grace by Jennifer S. Faherty

I love having piles of laundry to do. Really. It’s my excuse to lock myself in my room and watch TV while I start folding away.

You see, I never ever have control of the remote downstairs, which is usually in the hands of my kids or husband. (And admittedly, even when they aren’t watching anything, I feel too guilty just watching TV.)

So the piles of laundry are my great excuse to escape.

And it’s an especially great day when an episode of Soul Sunday with Oprah Winfrey is on.

This morning I watched her interview Michael Singer, author of The Untethered Soul: a Journey Beyond Yourself. Although I was engrossed in the entire exchange, the hairs of my arm stood up when she quoted a passage from his book on death:

Let's say you're living life without the thought of death, and the Angel of Death comes to you and says, "Come, it's time to go." You say, "But no. You're supposed to give me a warning so I can decide what I want to do with my last week. I'm supposed to get one more week." Do you know what Death will say to you? He'll say, "My God! I gave you fifty-two weeks this past year alone. And look at all the other weeks I've given you. Why would you need one more? What did you do with all those?" If asked that, what are you going to say? How will you answer? "I wasn't paying attention . . . I didn't think it mattered." That's a pretty amazing thing to say about your life… Death is a great teacher.

This quote seems especially poignant, with yesterday’s news that the great actor Philip Seymour Hoffman passed away. We are saddened by the loss of such a gifted talent, a father of three children, a young life of only 46 years old.

A real-life reminder that death can come upon us at any time, without warning.

So here I am, surrounded by (albeit now folded) piles of laundry, and suddenly finding myself contemplating weighty life and death questions (Good God, it would have been so much easier if I just turned on The Kardashians. . .).

But alas, I didn't, and here I am asking myself, if death suddenly struck, would I be content that I gave it my full appreciation?

Am I paying attention? If I had a week left, would I be sitting here folding laundry?

Surprisingly, the answer is yes. I love sitting here folding laundry and watching Oprah. Listening to my younger kids downstairs playing Minecraft on the computer. About to make breakfast for my teenager, who’s just waking up even though it’s close to lunchtime. Perfection.

I am paying attention. Are you?

Of course, it’s also true that in other ways, I am not.

I wonder if perhaps it’s finally time to plan that great family trip instead of always squirreling every extra dime for retirement. To book that speaking engagement, even though it scares the begeezus out of me. To write a blog about death (and laundry), even though it would be easier to write about what I always write about, which is money.

Death is a great teacher. What is it teaching you today?

Want help figuring out how to make the most of this one wild and precious life you've been given? Schedule a Strategy Session at

~ Jennifer S. Faherty is a career strategist, life and money coach, writer, speaker and teacher. She earned a B.A. from Dartmouth College and an M.A. from Columbia University and is a Certified MARTHA BECK LIFE COACH, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. Prior to founding Redbird Partners, Jennifer worked as the Director of Marketing and as a Financial Advisor at an independent advisory firm where she developed investment portfolios, created financial plans and helped implement wealth management strategies for high-net worth clients with investable assets of $1 million to $5 million.


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