Jon, I think you missed Julia’s point.
From one perspective, yes, you can see a startup or any business as a living thing: it has a birth, a life where it thrives or doesn’t, and most of the time, a death. From that perspective, there may be a destination (i.e. goals) that the business (and the people of the business) is striving towards as its primary purpose. The business can succeed or fail in reaching goals or waypoints. In this, the entrepreneuer can be the parent, but is still a separate entity from the business.
Julia’s piece was about putting her startup into the context of the larger journey: her life and her life’s work. A startup/business can (or should) never be the purpose of someone’s life. She had reasons for starting Bucket that are separate from the business itself. She probably put almost everything of herself into Bucket during its life, but it was only part of her journey towards some greater purpose(s) (e.g. contribute to society, build new ideas into reality, becoming self-sufficient and in control of her life, build something that lasts longer than her, etc.). Only she can define, redefine, pivot, and strive towards those purposes.
Therefore, learning is a huge part of building and running a startup. If an entrepreneuer doesn’t learn from the failure of that startup, she is missing an opportunity to continue her journey in furtherance of her personal life purposes that led her to build it in the first place.
Yes, starting and running a business from scratch is a long, hard, painful, and not always successful endeavor. However, it cannot and should not be an entrepreneuer’s sole purpose.