Opinion

If there's one good thing to come out of Michael Mosley's death, it's to live a little better

Karen Hardy
Updated June 12 2024 - 9:57am, first published June 10 2024 - 7:19pm

Sometimes a celebrity's death just hits you a little differently. Not that Dr Michael Mosley would have ever considered himself a celebrity. He was a doctor, journalist, author and filmmaker who genuinely wanted to help people make their lives just a little better.

His body was found on June 9 near a beach close to the village of Agia Marina, on the Greek island of Symi, four days after his wife Dr Claire Bailey reported him missing.

WATCH: The body of British TV presenter Dr Michael Mosley has been found after an extensive search in Greece.

I've had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Mosley a few times in the past few years, most recently via Zoom, from his home in England for the SBS series Australia's Sleep Revolution.

He greeted me on camera with a smile and a laugh, despite it being close to 10pm his time, ironically past his bedtime given the documentary's topic.

Michael Mosley was an advocate for public health. Picture SBS
Michael Mosley was an advocate for public health. Picture SBS

We also spoke about Australia's Health Revolution which he also made with SBS in 2021. His concern here was the rising incidence of Type 2 diabetes and he looked at ways it could be treated without medication.

On this Zoom, he looked the picture of health. He told me about his daily rituals, getting up at the same time every day, taking the dog for an early morning walk so the sunshine would reset his internal clock, a quick cold shower, a routine of push ups and squats before he got about work for the day. Bailey was the cook in the family, they ate a Mediterranean diet, and went for a walk together at the end of the day.

My heart goes out to Bailey and their four children. I can't imagine what they're going through.

When I initially heard of the news I kind of half-joked that wouldn't it be hilarious if he'd just had enough of all the clean living and had decided to disappear to a secret location where he could become a couch potato, smoke cigars, drink too much wine and eat fried food. The morbid humour of denial.

Michael Mosley appeared in several documentaries on Australian television. Picture SBS
Michael Mosley appeared in several documentaries on Australian television. Picture SBS

Instead he was found not far from his final destination.

Confirming that his body had been found, Bailey acknowledged the impact her husband had had on people around the world.

"My family and I have been hugely comforted by the outpouring of love from people from around the world. It's clear that Michael meant a huge amount to so many of you," she said.

To honour his life, I've decided to get a bit serious and actually start taking some of his advice on board. Doing the Fast 800 three days a week just isn't going to cut it anymore.

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The place to start will be the book Just One Thing (Hachette, $22.99, 2023). Based on the BBC program and podcast of the same name, it's all about how simple changes can transform your life.

"We all want to live healthier, better lives but with an overload of information, it can be hard to know what we should really be doing, especially when we're short on time," he says in the introduction.

He suggests simple things such as an early morning walk, having that blast of cold water in the shower, singing, meditating, even standing on one leg regularly to help improve our balance (very important as we get older). Or try exercising less, but more often, getting a few house plants, eating a little chocolate, volunteering, reading poetry, reading anything.

We should be a little kinder to those around us, listen to music, laugh, embrace the rain, love our leftovers.

There's even a special mini-series of the podcast entitled Cold Therapy, about embracing the benefits of cold weather. Perhaps a perfect, easy listen at this time of year.

Perhaps that's what his death has made me realise. Maybe we should embrace every day we have because we never know which day will be our last.

Maybe we should all be doing that one simple thing to make each day, and the next, just that little bit more worthwhile.

Maybe we should be taking ourselves out of our comfort zones occasionally to reignite our spark.

"Michael was an adventurous man, it's part of what made him so special," Bailey said in her statement.

Maybe we all need to embrace just a bit of that spirit and try a bit harder to live better lives to honour his which was cut terribly short. I'd like to think that perhaps that's exactly what he'd want his legacy to be.

Karen Hardy

Karen Hardy

Canberra Times lifestyle reporter

I've covered a few things here at The Canberra Times over the years, from sport to education. But now I get to write about the fun stuff - where to eat, what to do, places to go, people to see. Let me know about your favourite things. Email: karen.hardy@canberratimes.com.au