After writing that last entry, I wrote a long-time friend of mine to tell him of my "decision", and how I feel. Here's part of what I wrote:
I haven't been able to make any strides towards growing the company, and frankly, every day I have to psych myself into thinking I want to be there.
I don't know if it makes any sense, but I actually "quit" in my mind on the drive home, and just that thought of quitting has given me an incredible buzz.
Here are a few excerpts from his reply:
Huh, made up your mind finally?! LOL.
I'm sure when you separated and then divorced this crossed your mind quite strongly. Very good you used time to show you what you needed to know.
Certainly you have something in mind for what comes next, or will in time. I am sure that whatever it will be, it is what is driving this decision. It would be a shame if this was just to get out from under something dealing w/ the divorce or business lull. Meaning that yes, profitability is important yet keeping the business viable for those who rely on it is a responsibility of sorts. However you can't tie your life to it in a way that impinges on your quality of life.
He's a pretty philosophical sort, and I've never really thought about my responsibility to keep people employed. Actually, I have, and of course made the decision back in 2002 to keep everyone at my own expense. But beyond that, I always thought our employees were good enough that with just a few phone calls I'd have them all employed somewhere else.
I need to let this settle in for a little while and make sure I'm really sure this is the right thing, but I've spent a long time thinking about this, and I'm pretty sure it is. Once I make a decision like "I don't want to retire in this town", I move pretty fast, and in this case, that means leaving this town pretty fast ... though not before selling my interest in the company before I go, for the best offer I can get.