Saturday, December 28, 2019
The Club - Meeting 324 - Happy New Years, Resolutions & Ask Me Anything
Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. - Oprah Winfrey
So, where to go in 2020? I’m still in this post-Christmas zen place in which I don’t feel very ambitious. On the non-DD front, I really, really need to work on getting into better physical shape and getting the daily stress under control. I’m pretty hesitant to make any career goals for 2020, given that I did have a plan in place at the end of 2018 and then everything went totally sideways and pretty much off the rails for the entirety of 2019. In fact, in the past I had this almost faith-like belief that there actually was a connection between my plan and list-making and the goals I hit each year. It wasn't always linear, but there did seem to be a connection. But, wow, did 2019 ever lead me to question that assumption. The year as it happened looked nothing like the year I planned as I wrapped up 2018. Though, I don't think passivity and inertia is the right course either. I do think that I need to face up to the fact that if I keep doing what I’m doing in terms of care, even if that turns out to be very lucrative financially and a least “not bad” with respect to fulfillment, just staying in that rut may keep me from doing something that actually would be better. You can do that only so many years in a row before time runs out.
Hello all. Welcome back to the last meeting of the Disciplinary Couples Club for 2018.
As all of you long-term readers know, I am a chronic maker of lists, and that includes lengthy, detailed lists of goals, expectations, hopes and resolutions. I am not a person who is afraid of change in general and nowhere near arrogant enough to think I couldn't use some, including in my personal habits and performance.
Consistent with my recent bout of laziness, which has led me to recycle some older posts recently (though, to be fair, I did update them at least little), I decided to start this early New Years post by first looking back at the posts from 2018 and 2017. It was an odd mix of forward progress, modest change, and some plain old intertia. Surprisingly and a little depressingly, here is a verbatim quote from 2017, summarizing my approach to setting goals for 2018:
“I kind of feel like leaving things a little open to whatever happens. As it inevitably will and instead of resisting it, I hope to allow for the possibility of being pleasantly surprised. In fact, one reason I'm not spending a lot of time coming up with specific career and work goals for 2018 is I wouldn't mind being in something very different by year-end and so, while I want to continue to out-perform in my current role as long as it lasts, I don't want to be so focused on goals related to that role that I don't stay mentally and emotionally open to letting something entirely new take me in an entirely different direction. I do hope 2018 brings a deepening of the Domestic Discipline aspects of my relationship with my wife and a stepping up in her confidence level and willingness to take control. Being the goal-setter and list-maker I am at heart, I probably will spend some time in the next few days coming up with specific things I would like to see us do to help bring those goals about, but right now, I just don't feel like it. So . . . Goodbye 2017.”
Now, the reason that entry seems depressing is that I intended to open this week's post by noting that my resolutions frequently focus a lot on career and financial goals, but that it is hard to do that this year because I am giving serious consideration to trying to be in a very different and likely much less lucrative career by the end of 2020. But, when I looked at the 2017 post I found this was exactly where I was at this same point that year! So, on the surface, not much has changed in two freaking years.
Though,in some ways, things did not stay the same and, in fact, 2019 was a mirror image of 2018. Here are some excerpts from 2018:
“I hope you all had a great Christmas. Ours was good. In some ways, it seemed like a 'smaller' holiday. Less busyness. Slightly less running around from party to party. And, smaller but more personal gifts. And, I like that. Looking back on 2018, it was a pretty good year, if I ignore the career front. That aspect of 2018 was mediocre at best, with much more involuntary downtime than I’m usually comfortable with. While our progress stalled mid-year, on the DD and FLR front my wife really did step it up significantly in the first half of the year, and hopefully she will get back on track once kids clear out after the holidays. Our kids are all healthy and doing well on their chosen school/career paths. From a health perspective, this time last year I was convalescing from an injury and in a chronic bad mood due to lack of sleep caused by ongoing pain from said injury. Full recovery took way longer than I expected, but I’m finishing out 2018 stronger and healthier than I was in 2017, and slightly ahead of where I was in 2016. At my age, doing better than holding steady is itself a surprising accomplishment. While it was not a smooth ride for everyone in our extended family, all of them are still with us as we head into 2019 and their momentary setbacks now look like blessings in disguise. We also have some aging furry friends that are more like family than pets. I was pretty sure more than one of them would not see the end of 2018, yet while things are getting harder for them, all are still with us.”
This year ended a lot like 2018 -- scaled down busyness and running around and a focus on family. In fact, one reason I feel better than usual this year is, while I put away my share of Christmas cookies and other bad food, we bailed on pretty much ever holiday party that would normally be on our agenda. And, that felt good. But, the similarities break down as I look backward over the course of 2019 and compare it to what I said above about 2018. In 2018, things stayed pretty stable on the work front, and any lack of activity was involuntary. In contrast, in 2019 I made a fairly disastrous career decision early in the year that kept me insanely busy for the entire year, at least on the management side. For our kids, it was kind of a mixed bag, with some resounding successes but also some big disappointments and frustrated expectations. From a health perspective, 2018 ended in better shape than it began, while this year I’ve been dealing with a chronic and frustrating problem that may be a result of the frenzied job pace, and it’s made it even more challenging than usual to keep to any sort of workout routine, leaving me slightly heavier than I was last year. Though, when I look at just how bad the year was in terms of diet and exercise, it could be a lot worse, and on a few metrics I actually am in slightly better shape than this time last year. But, for much of the year the trend was not good at all, and that is something that absolutely must get fixed in 2020. As for our extended family, 2018 was rough for some of them but most of them seem healthier this year than last, with one significant exception. And, finally, our elderly furry friends held in there through 2018, but the same was not true of 2019.
Now, as for specific resolutions I made in 2016 and 2017, the picture is pretty damn depressing. Here is how I did:
Fewer Saturdays spent regretting my Friday work-related socializing: This got a little better as we approached year-end, but it mostly was a bad year on this front. Almost all of the bad behavior related to work responsibilities or, at least, work-related activities and temptations. One more reason to rethink what a successful career looks like for 2020.
Temper at work: This was OK through much of the year, and I actually made a good amount of progress. I even formed some genuinely good relationships with a couple of people at work who used to consistently set me off. I really tried to start living by the mantra "assume good intentions." Then, in the last month or two of the year it got a lot worse. Honestly, the accumulated impact of a year of too much travel and too little sleep finally just got the better of me.
Nurturing important relationships: This was a very mixed bag. Thanks to travel, I saw less of my wife. Though, perhaps in a twisted form of "absence makes the heart grow fonder," in some ways our relationship improved, including on the DD and FLR front. Though, honestly, I think that had more to do with more personal growth on her side than on absence per se, though one could argue that the absence gave her both room and necessity to stretch and grow. I did end up with some new relationships at work, but those were offset by not doing a great job of maintaining some meaningful existing relationships. If anything, that problem was exacerbated over the last month of 2019, as we skipped out on holiday parties with existing friends and work connections, as we were just too exhausted.
Exiting 2019 in better shape than I entered it, as measured by pant-size, blood pressure, strength and endurance: This was, at best, very mixed. On most of the important metrics, such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels, I lost ground. On the other hand, my strength is about the same and maybe slightly up, while pant-size is about the same and actually slightly down. But, on the whole, it was a year in which I lost some ground, because I'm not living with a chronic problem that is making working out more challenging and painful. I'm going to have to explore this in a more systematic and dedicated way in 2020, and it may be that I have to accept that aging inevitably applies to me and not not just the rest of the human race. Nah, let's not go there quite yet.
Domestic Discipline Resolutions:
Self-report any infractions at least weekly: Big fail. If anything, all my work related overnight travel made it even easier to get away with bad behavior.
Empower my wife to grow in her disciplinary authority: I think I did OK on this, though her actual success at “taking the bull by the horns,” ebbed and flowed. But, in 2018 the flow was in the wrong direction – she started strong but then lost ground. In 2019, it got off to a slow start, but in the last few months she started getting a lot more consistent with using spankings to address issues that make her mad and in punishing bad behavior.
During spankings, instead of "taking it like a man," try hard to let go all ego and control, surrendering totally to her authority: Let loose and really cry during a spanking: Like every other year, this was a total fail.
Do a two-day boot camp to focus on our DD and FLR relationship: Fail.
On the DD/FLR/kink front, I guess my real wish is to take the progress of 2018 and 2019 and make it more consistent, pervasive and systematic. An area I think we did make progress in, both in 2018 and 2019, was increasing the overall sexual vibe in the relationship. That was really positive, and I hope we can take that in new and exciting directions.
She has definitely gotten more comfortable being bossy and exercising authority. It now just needs to become more automatic. I have to do my part in that, primarily through finally getting on the self-reporting thing once and for all. I’d also like to stop being so paranoid about confidentiality and, instead, open myself to more real relationships within this little community we’ve built, if others are willing.
How about you? If you’re on the receiving end of the paddle, do you have any specific resolutions for 2020? Any specific bad behaviors you’d like conquer? Any specific ways in which you’d like to see your wife take more control or crack the whip harder, literally or figuratively?
Ladies, what about you? Do you have any resolutions for what you’d like to accomplish in 2020? Any areas in which you’d like to improve as a disciplinarian or leader? What about goals for him? Are there any behaviors you are committed to stamping out once and for all? Have you made any concrete plans for how to accomplish that?
For both sexes, feel free to share any resolutions that are not related to DD or FLR. It’s great to hear what others think is important and what they intend to do about it.
Finally, I am well aware that this “resolutions” post has flopped pretty much every time I have done it. So, I’ll combine it with another post that I did a few times but also didn’t do so well. Maybe in combination we’ll get a conversation going. I call this post, “Ask Me Anything,” and it’s pretty self-explanatory.
If there’s anything your curious about regarding my DD and FLR lifestyle, here is your chance to ask. I’ll also try to answer questions outside the DD and FLR context, as long as they aren’t too revealing in terms of my real identity, profession, etc. (Well, so much for that resolution regarding being more open and less concerned about being outed. It’s not even 2020 and I’ve already blown one resolution!)
I hope you had a great 2019 and that 2020 is even better. Rest up. Be safe.