Life Is The Bucket

I’m sitting up in Amy’s office on a beautiful Tuesday morning listening to the Liz Wright station Pandora. Amy is downstairs doing something with the dogs.

I just cried for a few minutes after reading Ted Rheingold’s post As I Lay DyingWhen I got to the final section, which he calls “Now,” I read it three times.

“I’ve gained some powerful emotional powers (super powers) in what I’ve been calling my second life. Most all my deep-set hangups died with my first life. A number (but not all) of my grudges, entitled expectations, self-assumed responsibilities, judgements are simply gone. I have no FOMO. There isn’t an event I’ve heard of since I’ve recovered that I wish I would have been at. I’m simply content to be alive and living my life. I have no bucket list. Life is the bucket.”

If you don’t know Ted, he now describes himself as “Beating stage 4 carcinoma thanks to amazing researchers oncologists and immunology. Passion for making the Internet do exciting and wonderful things.” I know him from an angel investment in Dogster, a company he founded and ran from 2003 to 2011 when he sold it to SAY Media. Jeff Clavier introduced us, and I think it was the first investment Jeff and I did together.

I haven’t kept up with Ted other than a periodic email. But whenever I see his name, I think of him fondly. While Dogster was an ok outcome (I think I got a modest return – maybe 2x), Ted worked his butt off, valued his early investors, and was a delight to engage with him. But that doesn’t matter, as it’s not what is important about this thing we call life.

Ted touched me profoundly today with this post. His clarity around his second life is intensely powerful. The statement, “I’m simply content to be alive and living my life.” is something that vibrates in my brain.

Ted is getting a phone call from me to say thank you for putting this out there. And to send him a hug over the phone lines. Ted – thank you for saying “Life IS the bucket …”

Also published on Medium.

  • Thanks Brad. I know it been important to you share your health challenges. Society has become so much more open and accepting, but complex ailments and conditions can still feel taboo. I never knew how to speak to deathly ill people until this happened.

    You always gave us great advice at Dogster, often suggestions beyond what we heard from Silicon Valley advisors. I always wanted much more for Dogster/Catater but when we finally landed it I felt like a lesser Shackleton finally get the boat cargo and crew to safety.

    I’ll try and see if I can catch you on the phone.

    • Richard

      Amazing story, great job telling it. I was treated for a much less life threatening cancer, but my chemo story was similar to yours. 60 lbs of weight loss.

  • Can relate. As you know, I call it ‘bonus time’ after you’ve come face to face with death…and survived. It is a second life, and it is a gift.

  • Richard nivolumab science is facinating by its simplicity. Its literally the Tcell saying “fuck you” tumor cell, I got here first and there is no way you are turning off this immune system.

    Brad – maybe chapter XX of VC career will funding checkpoint startups.