Dr. Seth Roberts was an amazing human being. He liked interesting data more than fancy credentials, so he was simply "Seth" to most people.
To some, he was a psychologist. To me, he was a dear friend and the consummate self-experimenter. He became famous for his uber-odd (and effective) "Shangri-la" diet, but his tinkering never ceased. Standing on one leg for hours to see what happens? Looking at photos of human faces in the morning to track mood changes? It was never-ending. Swapping experiments was how we bonded. It was our favorite pastime.
Seth and I first met at the first-ever Quantified Self (QS) meet up in 2008. The small gathering of 20-some odd people met in the living room of WIRED founding editor Kevin Kelly. QS has since exploded on the global scale, but it was then an oddity, a gathering of weirdos. My kind of place and—certainly—Seth's kind of place.
The weirdos sometimes find gems off the beaten path, and Seth certainly did. Unlike some recluses, however, Seth loved to teach. That was his gift and is his legacy.
A few months before Seth's shocking death—he collapsed on a hiking trail unexpectedly —he shared this simple tea recipe with me. As a lifelong insomniac, I found it to have near
miraculous effects and it transformed my bedtime ritual. In turn, I shared the "recipe" (if you can call it that) with my fans, and hundreds of people reported back immediately: "I've tried everything and this is AMAZING!"
I miss Seth dearly, and he's gone in body, but the bedtime ritual remains. I view it an homage to him.
No one is guaranteed a long life. Don't die with the music inside of you, and don't save close conversations for "when there'll be more time." Long life is not guaranteed. It can be taken away at any moment.
Memento mori and sleep well.