Star burst & heart break


My beloved Dad/Father/Friend has passed away. His physical form is gone.

And I’m truly grieving for the first time, despite knowing loss previously in my close family.

Today (Sunday) was the day…

The day that you think you’re good. You’ve been back to work. You’ve made it the whole week. It’s been good to be busy.

It’s Sunday morning. You’re getting the coffee going. You think to yourself you should call your dad. And then you realise he’s gone. You’re not going to be able to make that call ever again.


You rein it in. You go about your day.

The evening has arrived. Your partner is in bed. You’re cleaning the kitchen. That was your primary childhood chore. It hits you. A wave…a Tsunami… It’s… a… fucking. Tsunami…

Such… GRIEF.

Gone too soon. So much left undone. Sooooo much left undiscussed.


And yet there’s light…


The sun was out.

You’ve gone back to work.

You’ve been helping the family and friends. You’ve been supporting the process. He’d be proud. How he’d feel under the fucking circumstances is poor consolation.

I’m mad!

He should have taken better care of his health.


That said, or perhaps more accurately expressed… I’m happy he lived happy and died himself.

Though I recognise him as imperfect… I wouldn’t change him. I wouldn’t trade what I had for more years with a different version of him.

And there’s something about peace with that tradeoff that makes the heartbreak all the more ferocious.

And it makes me so fucking mad.



I know…

I’ll make it through.

I’m so grateful for him and how he made me… me. I’m grateful for the many years I had with him and the many I may have ahead without him. Despite knowing those years ahead now include missing him. Forever. Or at least my version of that word.

Here’s to the sunshine ahead and the bright lights who got us here and played a irrevocable role in making us who we are. We are all imperfect. Our species, our circumstances… imperfect. Yet there’s a cosmic poetry playing out before our very eyes. Here’s to those who taught us to see the light, whether it be in a dark night sky or the beautiful blue of day.

On beginnings that Stick…

I am about halfway through my expected “4000 weeks” and it’s just now, that I’ve finally established a healthy, dare I say, life changing habit. I’d like to share how I came to this breakthrough, with the hope that it helps you establish your own healthy habit. As you might suspect after a brief survey of articles here on this story starts with a book. 

Atomic Habits - book featured on an e-reader

Atomic Habits is another trendy self help read that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. However, alas, the first attempt to apply what I had thought I learned was a total failure.

I committed one of my common mistakes, which was trying to do too much, and over complicating the routine. I also failed as the tactic to make it harder to do the wrong thing wasn’t a sufficient barrier for my pleasure seeking ways. Let me explain. I had tried to implement a regime of  daily exercise by putting the exercise bike in front of the TV every night along with a fresh set of workout gear. The rationale purveyed by the book was this would make it easier to get on the bike and ride than to move the bike out of the way and enjoy the TV. The experiment was a total failure. The bike got put away while I told myself I just didn’t have the energy. 

Sometime passed and my irritation at my inability to form and stick to a single good habit returned. If I didn’t make some improvements soon, activities I once took for granted like the ability to complete the Grouse Grind, or hike Mount Finlayson, might be beyond my ability to do reliably. 

In the face of this internal conflict, I of course turned to my trusty traveller’s notebook, my practice of self reflection flexing its muscles, wielding its mighty mechanical pencil and… 

Some of the wisdom from the Atomic Habits came back to me during this reflection period. One was to keep it simple, maybe even more simple than the stationary bike, another was it had to be something I could do everyday, and lastly rather than making it easier to do the right thing, maybe it had to be something that I actually enjoyed… like you know…. all my vices. 

What could I do everyday, that was good for me, that I actually enjoyed? And then the idea struck me… I could go for a walk! An outdoor walk. I’m inside all day working on my computer, I love fresh air and being outside. A speedy walk would get my heart rate up and would be unlikely to hurt my knees or legs impacting my ability to do it again the next day. Could I commit to finding 90 minutes everyday to speed walk 8 kilometres? The walk itself would be less time, but there would be change and cool down time. This was less of a time commitment than going out for a long bike ride… and if I kept up a fast pace, it would be great exercise…

I was compelled to try… and to my surprise it actually stuck. After a few weeks of getting out for this daily speed walk, I’d get down right anxious if a day had gone by without my 8k… like a day without my 2 cups of coffee. I had done it! I had established a healthy daily habit. 9 months later, I’ve lost 30 pounds and I feel great. And as the saying goes – I’m not done!

So how do you begin a healthy habit that will actually stick? My advice to you is:

  1. Choose one thing you can do everyday 
  2. Make it something you actually enjoy 
  3. Force yourself to do it, until it becomes second nature 

I was beginning to believe the myriad of books on habit forming and task management that I’d read just weren’t for me. That given a busy work schedule I was just too spent to master my own personal administration, and that some downtime spent numbing my mind on the couch was my just, pleasurable, reward. I was beginning to believe that I could force myself to do something for a while, but it would never become part of my entrenched daily routine.

I was wrong! I’m grateful that after more failed attempts than read advice, I have finally formed a healthy habit. And I believe you can too! Drop a comment below if you need some ideas on what might work for you or further convincing. And good luck making the most of your limited time… may your good health be preserved by the formation of a good habit! 


Here is the One Heart Five Habits book review that never finished the editing cycle back in March 2021. Re-edited for brevity and its new context.

Upon turning 40 my doctor diagnosed me with hypertension. This is bad news as hypertension is known as the silent killer. It is a major contributor to cardio vascular disease, the number 1 attributed cause of death globally.  

I ordered a smart blood pressure reader and flummoxed my doctor with unusually high readings for  someone so seemingly healthy. 

We experimented through trial and error with some meds and found one that worked. My blood pressure readings  improved but remained too high. My diet didn’t seem problematic to me, I thought to myself, I don’t eat fast food, I don’t add salt to my food… we eat fresh vegetables and fruit… we walk for exercise… anywhere from 3.5 – 10km excursions… I didn’t understand how my diet could be the problem. My doctor recommend the Netflix show Gamechangers and a few other research and inspiration activities but nothing struck me. I didn’t do much in terms of followup, other than take my meds. 

I am not entirely sure what caused me to search the internet  but I came across a book I hadn’t heard of, called One Heart Five Habits and added it to my virtual library. I devoured it. It was an exceptionally easy and inspiring read. What struck me most about it?

Despite the fact that I was pretty convinced that the salt issue didn’t apply to me, the book convinced me that it did… Eating out, even at a fancy restaurant, you’re going to get more salt than dining at home. Tips for looking at the labels of packaged foods to assess salt content, resulted in realizing that even my organic, premium choices for home were still, quite often, too salty. 

I felt like I ate plenty of fruit and vegetables… until I took the challenge of eating 8 servings of fresh fruits or vegetables in a single day… ditto for water. That’s a lot! I was no where near that level, and still struggle to fit that much in over the course of a day – even while working at home! 

One Heart Five Habits was also super encouraging, setting  and reinforcing a tone of “every little bit helps…” it’s not an all or nothing equation. Each alcoholic beverage you skip, helps. Each extra walk, each serving of fruit, veg or water… it all contributes. I found this motivating. 

I enjoyed the book so much I was happy to pay the $6 for the app to track my progress. The app was super basic, there was a couple of rough edges in the user interface, and I think I even spotted a typo. Its privacy details weren’t updated in the app store at the time of writing, and it didn’t integrate with any of your other heath apps, so you’re manually transcribing your weight, blood pressure, minutes of exercise etc. That said the UI is pleasant, gives positive feedback when you tally yet another fruit or vegetable consumed, and I found it quite effective for tracking my progress.

So, how were my results? 

After 3 months (Jan – March 2021) I was trending down both with respect to weight and blood pressure, despite suffering through some stressful life circumstances. However, I struggled to maintain the regime and after making a career move I proceeded to gain back more than I’d lost. I gained a total of 26lbs between May 2021 – April 2022.  I was the heaviest I’d ever been. Which was also no good for my blood pressure.

As I mentioned in my last post, A Skeptics Interrogation of A Skeptics Guide to Stutz, it’s at this point April 17th 2022 that I made the internal commitment to speed walk 8k (meters) a day and thereby proceeded to lose all the weight I put on and more. And more importantly I’m not done! Next week I’ll share more on how I landed on this commitment and why I think I’ve been successful keeping it for more than 9 months.