Closed Doors

April 11, 2014

At my work, we have three doors that lead into our lobby area. The middle door is always closed. The door I sit across from is usually open and says “EXIT” on it. The door to my left of the closed door is always open and says “ENTER HERE” on it. There’s even theater-style roping that also says “ENTER HERE.”

The number of people who try to go in the closed door is kind of amazing. It’s not an insignificant number of people. The EXIT that I sit across from is often used as well, usually when we have longer lines and people are trying to circumvent having to wait.

So, basically, all day I get to watch people making these choices, trying to enter closed doors in favor of already open ones, or trying to skirt around the rules of the establishment.

I have looked very closely at the office doors, upon first arriving outside, and the closed door doesn’t look particularly inviting. Yet, people still make that choice. They pull on the handle, and it doesn’t budge. But if they push the accessibility button, the door will swing open.

Sometimes, the person will take a step back and see the other open doors. Usually, they go through the exit, then, rather than entering through the roping that clearly states “ENTER HERE.”

I think of the symbolism of these choices. I think about times I had made things more difficult than they needed to be, or didn’t see an open door right in front of me. Or worse, the times I didn’t see a rake until I stepped on it <--- my favorite pun about my ex-husband. Again, I think it comes back to something I mentioned the other day: the times we get in our own way, hold ourselves back. Some of this is simply by standing too close to the issue, or not looking at things on a grander scale. With myself, a huge way I hold myself back is by simply not giving myself enough credit for the things that I have accomplished. I fret a bit about the pile of things left incomplete, or the works-in-progress that "I will get to eventually." At work, I am one of those people who will absolutely do whatever random request immediately, and once that is completed, I will return back to the regular workload. That way, I am not holding up anyone else's processes, or I have helped a student out while they are right in front of me, and everyone is happy. Do it now, it doesn't pile up later. I find this an efficient way to get things done at my day job. I think that I would also find this an efficient way to achieve my writing goals as well, but I find that I am experiencing a somewhat sad state of disconnect in this aspect of my life. Recently, I think I have devised some creative ways to circumvent my lack of accomplishments in my chosen field. You can't, after all, have any successes in this field without rejection, but that's not my problem. My problem is that I don't know what to do with success. So I am staring at two open doors, one closed one, and watching people picked the closed door, and I just, I know exactly how stupid they feel when they realize. Because it's stupid not to try for fear of success as much as for fear of failure. Part of a lesson for the College Survival Skills class I teach even covers this, as part of the reason that people procrastinate or don't take simple chances. I am going to start taking more chances. I have challenged myself to do this. I am going to start small, by taking chances that will amount to a pile of rejection letters. But you know, I can totally handle that, and one day soon, it will be time to learn to cope with successes, too.

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