When The Door Closes Behind You – Are You Shut In Or Shut Out?

The last sliver of light disappears right before your very eyes as the door suddenly and without warning closes behind you. Is this the door to opportunities not yet known, a door behind which career success is found, or perhaps the indoctrination into family life? For any &/or all purposes this is the door to your life. This is the door to my life. This is the door to your life.

As is the case with all doors this one will either close in front of you effectively locking you out or locking you in or close behind you also effectively locking you out or locking you in. Which sides of the door will the decisions that helped mold your life into what it is now find you? From what you perceive to be your reality are you shut in or perhaps your perception is that you are shut out.

Many times in my life I have been there when that sliver of light slowly fades into darkness leaving me on the side of the door that was once open in front of me.

Many times in my life I have been there when that sliver of light slowly fades into darkness leaving me on the side of the door that was once open in front of me. More than one time in my life have I been on the side of the door that has now been closed perhaps never to reopen. In your life, you have made many decisions. Where do those decisions now leave you in terms of the “door?” If could turn back away from the door how much difference will it make? Where do you now find yourself?

Sunlight is now beaming in through the cavities on the front side and backside of this door that no key exists for. You like me feel a sense of renewal and rejuvenation. What was once thought to be impossible is now very possible. The approach you or I take will be one that is filled with the excitement born out of new possibilities yet cautiously proceeded upon. We are here but our sights are transfixed on there which is outbound from here. A poet, a leader, a philosopher, a businessperson, or a soon to be lifelong wanderer is what lay before us on these frontiers that came from being on the side of the door that you now take your rest on.

From the brilliant yet blinding sun light, we are forced to don our sunglasses that will darken what we see before us while deflecting the rays of the sun out of our line of vision. This deflection may cause us to see only fragmented fragments of what was once the whole. Before long the light allows the darkness to overtake us bringing our march forward to a screeching halt. Here again, we are left to our own devices known as our intellect to help us draw a conclusion as to being shut in if not finding us to be shut out.

Our futures are left to be decided not necessarily from our own inclinations or manifestations. There are no roads to take us there. So we warily peak under the door hoping to uncover the true challenges of the choices we have made will lead us into. If parenthood is our predesigned destiny how will we set the course for our children to embark upon? What precedents will we base our parenting skills on? So much yet so little has been formalized.

With a twist and a turn, we are now thrust inside the doors of corporate life. We must now minus the element of free decisions develop into the form of thinkers, followers, and doers leading ultimately to wearing the mantle of being a leader. Who will we be afforded to lead even though we have never led before? We may not have chosen this as our preferred destination but we clearly have had this pathway chosen for us. The door had shut behind you before you could engage your mind to think. The CEO within you shall emerge putting you on top of the bejeweled throne.

As I lay awake in the midst of my slumber only to discover there is not nor has there ever been we. This is my life and my life alone to live. For the longest time, I was quite content in the quiet solitude of being by choice a shut in. The light from the lamps is bright until the time comes when they suddenly turn off leaving a darkness that only the eyes of the cat can penetrate. May I ask of myself to honestly admit contentment in this life I am leading is not what being content is supposed to feel like?

In all frankness, it is I that controls this not so mighty door. When I lock the locks from the inside after the door has been closed I am shut in. As I purposely lock the locks on the door from the outside it occurs to me that I am by no means shut out. I now have to grudgingly admit that a key does in fact exist. The key is not always in my pocket nor is it always anyplace where I can see it. This is the key that was left to me by parents to set sail on the ocean that would wash me up on the shore of where I would ultimately be.

There exists this myth that my life is not my own to lead. From subway to the street to the bakery in the middle of the block, I carry my life with me. This door of which I speak has no front side. This door of which I speak is devoid of a backside. This door can close and it can open with or without me being involved in the operating of the door. I will be there when it is time for the door to open. I will be there when the door has voluntarily closed itself on my life.

When the door closes behind you are you shut in or shut out? When the door closes behind me am I shut in or am I shut out. There is a curtain on the physical door as well as on the existential door that I can gently move away from the glass pane so as to be able to catch a fleeting glance of people, cars, buses along with my life. Had I only known that there would closings as well as openings perhaps it would have all made sense to me now?

Can I have a say as to who is allowed to pass through this space and walk down the three steps into the kitchen and ultimately into the living room where the all-powerful time machine is perched as it waits to beckon me to come over? I enter my password that will lead me through the myriad of images I must decipher.

The doors are now locked for the evening. Is it safe to say while I know I am only shut in if I choose to be is it a given I will again arise to open the door to the left of me and the door to the right of me?


Joel Elveson
Joel Elveson
INDEPENDENT Executive Recruiting By Joel is an "up and coming" Executive Search Firm formed and headed up by Joel Elveson whose visionary ideas, leadership & creativity have brought to life a more "user-friendly" approach to recruiting. His clients and candidates form powerful strategic partnerships that we use to help you. Joel’s Firm offers Permanent, Temporary (case by case), & Temporary To Permanent staffing solutions for all of your Human Capital Requirements. Contract IT/Consultants are available if needed. Above and beyond they are experts (by way of their personal industry work experience) with mortgage, mortgage banking, middle-market banking, accounting, along with many others under the vast financial spectrum of disciplines. Their business goes beyond candidate recruiting as they also train, mentor and develop your internal recruiting staff with an eye towards helping you reduce the cost of hiring. They will also work in areas such as compensation, effective onboarding processes and alike. In other words, their business is to help your business by becoming an extension of you by filling in gaps that cause delay or waste. The recruiting methods employed by Joel’s team are time tested that results in a high rate of successful placements. Joel was trained in the art of recruiting by some of the top staffing industry executives in addition to the best recruiter trainers who to this day drive me to exceed the lofty goals he has set forth.

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  1. Larry,
    I can’t believe you have heard of Phil Ochs as so few people have. Although I may not share his politics anymore I still regard him as a poet, a great sense of humor, brilliant lyricist amongst many other things. Phil will always hold a special place in my heart. You have made my day by sending me this message. Thank you so very much!

  2. Great Article Joel. Dark at times but I like that. I feel like I have spent a lifetime opening doors for myself and for others often being amazed at what lays beyond. However I have at times closed the door and walked away. It has seemed for me always to be a choice and one that I control. Thank you Joel. very touching story.

    • Larry, Thank you not only for taking the time to read my article but for your very generous compliment. When I write more philosophical articles they are a little darker than my other articles. I am glad you enjoyed reading the article. When we open doors that we have not previously opened what is revealed to you can be amazing what you see lays beyond that you did not expect. There are times in many people’s lives that they have for one reason or another closed the door on that chapter of their lives and walked away. I look forward to your continued readership in addition to your comments.

    • No, it is not a question of shut in or shut but more about your mental ability to break out of these feelings. We all have certain capacities to overcome negative feeling or emotions but their is a lack of understanding of how to put yourself in the right frame of mind or build up your confidence so that you no longer have to deal with “door.s” Many thanks as usual Chris for your comments and contributions.