The Art of Compromise

I now live in a new city. I chose an elegant apartment building with wonderful amenities. There’s a sky lounge with breathtaking views of downtown Dallas, a clubhouse with a social kitchen, a media lounge, an incredible pool area with grills and a beautiful gym.

Having been a dancer for most of my life, going to a traditional gym never appealed to me but I’ve gotten into the Peloton. I’ve discovered an instructor who plays great music and keeps me laughing for the whole ride (isn’t that what we’re all looking for: someone who can distract us from the painful parts with humor?) I’m committed to using it in the morning before work.

There are a multitude of machines here, but just one Peloton bike. For some reason, the gym doesn’t open until 6am and there is suddenly another resident who (although he works from home) wants my time slot on the bike. For our purposes here, we’ll call him “the twerp” and he’s ruining my morning routine.

Upon arrival, his twerpiness adjusts the seat, inserts his ear buds, drapes his towel over the handlebars and starts pedaling. Soon enough, the towel is used to wipe the sweat from his face (completely normal- I get it) Then, however, he blows his nose in said towel and smoothes it out, once again, neatly on the handlebars. Within minutes, he is wiping his face with it again. The whole wipe, blow, smooth procedure is on repeat for the rest of the ride as I watch in disgust.

I had been getting up early walking my dog and then getting to the gym just moments after the twerp commenced his setup. I thought I’d wait and see if possibly he varied his workouts or schedule, but no. Day after day this went on and finally I approached him. “Do you use the Peloton every day or can we work something out so that I can use it too before work?” “No, I use it every day,” was the answer. Twerp.

He was not yet aware, but there would be a compromise whether he liked it or not. I decided he could at least let me have it on Tuesdays and Thursdays so on those mornings I sneak out quietly, leaving the dog sleeping, and go straight down to the gym. (Don’t worry, I walk him right after!)   I’m waiting at the gym door at 5:50AM. The minute it clicks open, I’m in, adjusting the bicycle seat and choosing which class Cody will lead me through that day. (No, I don’t have a snot towel.) As it’s still dark, I can easily see the twerps reflection in the windows as he enters, sees me there forcing an equitable compromise and skulking back out. Compromise achieved!

But when I’m back in my apartment, I’m the queen of the castle. The art is to my liking as is the arrangement and style of the furniture. The kitchen is set up in a way that works for and makes sense to me.  I chose the sofa alone. I eat what and when I want and watch whatever tickles my fancy– always; and it’s gotten downright boring. Some would envy my situation. I, however, would love to have to compromise. You want red when I feel like white? You prefer Manhattan clam chowder and I crave a creamy New England? Angel hair or penne? Go out or stay in? And what movie can we settle on for a night of Netflix and chill?

I would give anything to come home to a smiling face who had made some Irish stew with crusty French bread for us when I had been thinking about Italian all day.

When it’s all your way all the time, you often find yourself in a rut. I’ve found I’m actually okay with the twerp on the Peloton now because he’s forced me to find other workouts for my alternate mornings making me more well rounded in my training

Having to consider another, challenges you to look at things in an alternate fashion, try a different way of preparing something that you might not have otherwise given a chance but for your love of the other person.

For example, weeknights have me falling back on salmon or mahi mahi with a drizzle of olive oil and some herbs or a dollop of pesto but my daughter was visiting and suggested Mike’s Hot Honey and a bit of Dijon on the fish . . . . delicious!

A jazz musician playing solo may have a plan in her head. She’s in full control of where the music’s going to go. That’s great sometimes, but isn’t it so much more fun to riff and bounce things off of another person? You may have to step back and make some concessions, but together you’ll travel to a whole different place neither one of you expected.

I’ve only got so many crayons in my box and after all this time, I’ve grown weary of them. I look forward to the day another shows up with markers or watercolors so both our worlds can expand and become more colorful. I’ll even compromise in the kitchen . . . . . to a point!

I hope one day I have to spend some time compromising on a sofa or coffee table, drink red when I really wanted white, have pizza when I was thinking about Chinese all day and then sit and watch a movie I had not thought I’d like, but later discover I do.