How did you spend the “bonus year”?

April 10th has come and gone.  It’s the anniversary of my narrow escape from death by car.  Read about it here.

As it turns out, during the exact moment of this anniversary, I was teaching a class at Stanford.  This is roughly what I said to class:

Exactly one year ago to the minute, I nearly died when a car hit me while bicycling.  I was lucky — my injuries were minor and the geometry was fortunate — just 6 inches to the left and I would have been far worse.

During the same week last year, in an accident very similar to mine, Joy Covey, founding CFO of, friend of many in Silicon Valley, had less fortunate geometry.  While on a lunchtime ride, she was hit, and she died.  At the end of the school day, her son waited for her on the curb as he always did.  And waited.  And waited.  Just imagine that waiting.  Mom always comes.  But not that day.  In the confusion and grief, no one told the school or went to console her son.

So I was given a bonus year, to do something more.  Today I went on a bike ride as my secular prayer, and to reflect on how I have used the year.  I find myself lacking.  I didn’t laugh enough.  I didn’t make other laugh enough.  I didn’t accomplish enough.  I have work to do on me and in the world.

What have you done in the last year?  And what are you going to do in the next?  Today could be the beginning of your bonus year.  We could celebrate it together.  It will be a year we won’t waste.  One we value, savor, build.  And next year, on April 10th, we could get together and judge our performance, and urge ourselves towards more.


4 Responses to “How did you spend the “bonus year”?”

  1. Amy Klement Says:

    Thank you for these reflections… and, you are right: It’s not just about what you did FOR the world, but it’s also about your participation within it. What kind of energy did you create and exchange?

  2. Grover Says:

    Very well done Sean

  3. Karim Fahmy Says:

    That’s really inspiring and gave me energy to think about the next 12-months and how to approach them. thank you for sharing!

  4. Bob Phillips Says:

    As a fellow Miner and StuCo prez, i had nearly the same bonus year. My riding partner was not so lucky but survived. 6 inches to the right and I would have also been hit by the guy who said, “I only closed my eyes for a second”. Lucky vectors.
    My bonus year meant less triathlon training and more time with kids. It was awesome
    Bob BioSci’90

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