This Business of The Quickening (Or Quitting)

There are quickening moments in life, moments when you first feel the movement of something new. New love, the knee of your first child pushing against your wife’s belly, the early inklings (or doings) of a new career path–these bring the flutter of new life. In the quickening moments, folks are suckers for a cliché, saying things like, “this is the first day of the rest of my life.”

So, let’s go ahead and get this over with–this is the first day of the rest of my life.

I suppose my moment could be the beginning of something beautiful or the genesis of ruin. This is how quickening moments work. Love might turn to gold or ash. Babies might grow into saints or sinners (or they might not grow at all). New career paths promise the heights of economic prosperity, but can’t they lead to bankruptcy, too? Of course, all quickening moments might end in the middling out we humans are so prone to, but no one thinks their moment of new excitement will end in middling out. We humans are not prone to think in averages or mediocrities.

Last week, I officially tendered my resignation. I made the call, hopped the fence, and cut a path to Lord-knows-where. I’ve been setting up shop, opening accounts, tending to insurance, and considering just how much margin I have to sink or swim. (As an aside, the Sink-Or-Swim statistical analysis of a new business owner is quite a time consumer.) I’ve joined the rank-and-file of what the United States Department of Labor calls “small business owners.” That’s right; I’ve become the backbone of our economy, the engine of this nation’s prosperity, the embodiment of the American ideal or some such hornswoggle, depending upon which politician you listen to these days.

I’m a risk-taking, middle-class, entrepreneurial bit coded into the American program. Ain’t it grand?

Today is the first full day of the first full week of my new venture. I’d be lying if I told you it didn’t feel  much the same as I did on my first day of first grade in 1985, the day I stood at the bus stop on County Road 101 in my parachute pants and Izod shirt. I didn’t quite know what to expect that day, and I don’t suppose I know much better now. But here’s what I do know: nothing good comes from staying on the side of the road. At some point, I suppose you have to climb the bus steps.

Today, I’m climbing the bus steps. “What am I doing?” you ask. 

Let’s talk more about that in the days to come.


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  • Monica Sharman

    You should post a photo of you in the parachute pants and Izod shirt. 🙂
    Congrats, Seth. My husband and I can tell you it’s quite a ride.

    • sethhaines

      I actually think my mother has that floating around somewhere. Thanks, Monica.

  • Tease! (And congrats. Welcome to the crazy-club.)

    • sethhaines

      Thanks for the warm welcome. And today’s installment answers (or not) another question or two. 🙂

  • Joanne Peterson

    Good luck! Good to hear you took the plunge!

    • sethhaines

      Thanks, Joanne!

  • Timely indeed for me, having my own a quickening of sorts the other day. I was processing once again this truth: the time I have left is less than the time I have lived ( coming up on age 70 will do that.) Over the weekend I read about believing in beginnings again, the desire to not just grow old but grow new (Ted Loder, Guerrillas of Grace.)
    Beginnings? are you kidding me, when it seems like the beginning of an ending? I mentioned this to my counselor in a brief email. He suggested even this time of my life approaching is indeed “new” – and I felt a “quickening” – -the desire to traverse this new path – growing old in years, leading the way for others and it would all be “new.” I am not naive of the twists and turns this journey leads to, having taken care of parents.
    I am different (new) because of the work I have done with my counselor and God’s help. I’ll call it a “quickening.” The final leg of this journey, as Diana Trautwein calls it, is “new.”

    • oh and congrats. I am excited to hear of this!!!

      • sethhaines

        Thanks, Carol. And thank you so much for your thoughts. I’m so glad to hear about your own journey. Here’s to your “new!”

  • Congrats! It’s a terrifying, yet awesome journey. I launched out on my own in 2005 and it’s been wonderful ever sense.

    • sethhaines

      Thanks, Russ! I can’t wait to see what happens. I’m also glad to know a few folks who are 11 years ahead of me on this journey. I might come knocking for advice one day. 🙂

  • Jody Ohlsen Collins

    i knew something was up. I just knew it. Can’t wait to see what it is. Praying for you, for reals.

    • sethhaines

      Thanks, Jody. You’re a good one.