“There’s been a load of compromising on the road to my horizon,
but I’m gonna be where the lights are shining on me.”
– “Rhinestone Cowboy” by Larry Weiss, popularized by Glen Campbell
This song is on my iPod, thanks to Eric. During a recent workout, I got to thinking about what Glen meant by “compromising” and what sort of compromises I might have made on the road to where the sky has met the earth in my life.
The word “compromise” has many different meanings. To compromise is to reach an agreement, find a middle way between two extremes, or expose or make liable to danger, suspicion or disrepute. I think Glen had the following definition in mind: a concession to something derogatory or objectionable; a compromise of principles.
We have all made compromises in our life. It is a part of growing up to make concessions, to choose the least objectionable path, to focus on the positive and ignore the negative. If you’re lucky and the road is smooth, you won’t have to give up too much of yourself to get where you want to be – whether it’s Broadway or the corner office.
So what concessions have I made in my life, prejudicial or otherwise?
Love: I have rarely compromised in the area of love, which I would define as dating, or even marrying, someone for reasons other than a sincere desire to be with that person. A classic example of compromise would be choosing a husband based on his perceived ability to keep you in the style to which you have become accustomed rather than feelings of romantic love. I never felt the need to let economics play a role in choosing who to date.
Education: Not from my perspective. I went to one of the best undergraduate schools in Minnesota and the only law school in the community where I lived at the time. From my perspective, it would have been a compromise of my values to insist on going to a top tier law school at the expense of spending time with my family.
Work: Often. In private practice, I did not have a proper work-life balance and sacrificed time with my family to keep the partners and clients happy. Chasing billable hours can also feel like trading your soul for money, but I learned how to provide value for dollar and always ensured the bill reflected the value provided. As an in-house attorney, I very rarely feel the need to compromise.
Family: It depends. I have no regrets about choosing to have a child or choosing to have only one child. This is an intimate decision that is best worked out between the parents. I had to compromise though on where we lived when raising our family, which influenced how much time I could spend with my parents and siblings. Go hug your mother now.
Fun: Almost never. I have the pictures to prove it. I tend to lose all perspective on what is the right way to behave when there is wine and dancing. It’s just how we Brom girls roll.
Politics: Not intentionally. I have always tried to pick the candidate who can do the best job, and not the one who will further my own interest. My Dad was a Democrat. We watched the 1968 election returns hoping Herbert Humphrey would make us Minnesotans proud. My mother was a Republican. She probably voted for Nixon in 1968, but I didn’t figure that out until I was in my 20’s. In the past, I liked some of what I heard in both parties and have voted for both Democrats and Republican for President. These days I am a registered Democrat and support Democratic candidates.
What compromises have you made on the road to your horizon?