“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.” - Benjamin Franklin
Hello all. Welcome back to the first meeting of the Disciplinary Couples Club for 2022.
As long-term readers know, my New Years posts tend to be both reflective and verbose. So, hopefully those who have been here a while and who come for the camaraderie will bear with me. Those who are here just for the spanking porn may want to come back some other time.
“Well, what a fucking year.” That’s how I began my traditional New Years post for 2021. I thought (hoped, prayed, assumed) things couldn’t get any worse and that 2021 would yield a “v-shaped recovery” from the shitshow that was 2020. Although I do think the world recovered some of its collective footing after a very unbalanced and unbalancing 2020, it hardly was the major positive change I was hoping for. If 2020 was a series of disasters, 2021 was like a long, slow grind. Though, I guess at least the overall direction of the grind at least was upwards. Sort of.
For us, the old year ended on a very stressful note, and the new year got off to a very bad start. I won’t go into details because it really would be a little bit too revealing, but our community dealt with a real tragedy near the end of the year; one from which it will take a very long time for some people to recover. I was hoping to help in a “hands on” way as soon as practicable, but as I noted in a comment to the most recent post, right after the new year I contracted Covid and had to quarantine. While we were traveling in a foreign country. Not fun.
If you live in the U.S., I encourage you to think twice before traveling internationally until the CDC lifts its current travel restrictions. They require a negative Covid test no more than 24 hours before flying back to the U.S. from a foreign country and, and that restriction applies no matter how long you might have quarantined after a positive test. The problem is, the CDC itself notes that you can test positive for months after you are no longer contagious and aren’t experiencing any symptoms. The only other option if you keep testing positive (which I did for several days after the CDC’s five-day quarantine period), is to get a signed letter from a doctor saying you had Covid but have now recovered. Good luck finding a doctor in a foreign country who will examine you wherever you are quarantined, and who in addition to doing his job as a doctor will also be so kind as to write a letter for you containing whatever magic words your airline may require before they will let you onto a flight back to the U.S. I’ve also heard that some airlines are unilaterally requiring longer quarantine periods than the five days the CDC currently suggests. In short, there is a highly transmissible disease going around, and if you get it while traveling abroad it is all too easy to get stuck for some indeterminate period before you can come home.
Regarding the virus itself, I encourage you to keep taking steps to protect yourself. The Omicron variant (which I assume is what I had, though I have no way of knowing for sure) has been characterized as “mild,” but that’s a relative term that is used mainly in comparison to Delta and the original Covid 19 variants, which have killed millions worldwide. Based on my own experience and that of fully vaccinated friends and family, Omicron may not put you in the hospital or kill you, but then symptoms can still be pretty debilitating and can last a long time. It was 12 days between when I first experienced symptoms and when I finally tested negative, and my symptoms—especially the more flu-like symptoms like exhaustion and “brain fog”—actually got worse after I tested negative. It’s now been three weeks since I had the first symptoms, and I still can’t fully shake the cough, congestion and fatigue. Friends who have contracted it recently experienced very bad fatigue and severe body aches, and severe fatigue. Therefore, while I understand the hope that Omicron’s combination of high transmissibility and mild(er) symptoms might lead to herd immunity without maxing our hospital and morgue capacity in the process, based on my experience Omicron isn’t a joke.
I didn’t really expect to start the new year with a rant, but there you go. I also need to try to keep a wider and more positive perspective on the year as a whole. I spent a good part of the year recuperating and rebuilding from a surgery to fix a chronic health problem that had limited my physical activity for two years. It wasn’t an easy or painless rehab, but by mid-year I was taking on some physical challenges that, in my humble opinion, were fairly impressive for an aging guy such as myself. For the first time ever, my proclivity for social binging on alcohol dropped like a rock. I also finally let go of a career that, although lucrative and fairly good at serving my ego needs, had not been serving me well from a mental/spiritual/bodily health perspective for many years. The end-of-year tragedy I spoke of above, and the lack of inquires about our welfare by a lot of people I worked with for many years served to reinforce that I probably should have moved on long before I actually pulled the trigger. In past years, I’ve posted this meme, which reflected some real frustration about my chronic lack of yearly progress:
But, this year I can say that in some areas I actually did become a better, healthier, more energetic person. The goal now needs to be to carry forward and not lose ground. On that note, my Covid quarantine and the year-end drama our community went through did lead to one epiphany that I think and hope will have an impact on how I approach 2022. I left my career without any real plans for a second act, and I’ve never had any obsessive hobbies or compelling interests to keep me busy post-career. In combination with the necessary process of rehabilitating my body, my lack of concrete post-career goals led me into a months-long process of decompression and recuperation consisting mainly of a lot of dog walks, daily gym workouts, reading, and a lot of Netflix binging. While I genuinely need some time to just decompress after burning the candle at both ends for way too many years and almost ruining my health in the process, I realized that my daily routine while quarantined in a hotel room was not all that different from the way I had been approaching retirement, i.e. whole days drifted away with me sitting around the house doing little other than surfing the internet, reading books and streaming series and documentaries on Netflix. A life comprised of consuming media and entertainment content isn’t much of a life. So, whatever plans I put in place for 2022 need to involve a conscious effort to overcome inertia and do some exploring and serving.
What about the DD/FLR/kink front? Well, it was another up and down year. I continue to be surprised that as we have progressed further and more solidly into empty-nester status, things haven’t progressed that much in terms of DD or Anne taking charge. There is a complicated mix of reasons. First, my physical recovery imposed some hard limits on physical discipline for several months. Second, and relatedly, it’s hard to get any momentum going after a long break. Third, although I “retired” mid-way through the year, Anne is still working. Therefore, while I had fewer distractions to get in the way of DD consistency, she did not. Fourth, for much of the year my behavior was, in fact, much better than it was when I was neck deep in work pressure and work-related socializing and travel. Finally, there was one time near the holidays that I did something that I know undermined her authority and, unfortunately, it went unaddressed.
But, there were bright spots on the DD front that could foreshadow changes and real progress this year. For the first time in more than 15 years in this lifestyle, without any prompting from me Anne searched for and bought a spanking instrument. (Unfortunately for my bottom, it was a bath brush. I hate those damn things.) Further, she started leaving it and the heavy ebony hairbrush on display together in our bathroom, in a way that indicates to me that she’s getting much more comfortable with our kids potentially figuring out that someone in our house gets spanked.
So, with 2021 in the rearview mirror, what do I want to accomplish in 2022? Unlike in the past when I would set out some very specific goals for the upcoming year, this year’s list is a little more “thematic” and includes:
- Solidify the progress I made last year on reducing the number of excessive drinking incidents.
- Renew and energize some friendships that I let drift away over the last few years when I was too focused on career.
- Volunteer on some effort that has a real and substantial impact on the lives of vulnerable or powerless people.
- Take at least three long road trips with Anne and the dogs.
- Complete drafts of two books I’ve wanted to write for some time but never seem to get around to.
- Multiple multi-state motorcycle trips.
- Take up some sport or demanding fitness activity that doesn’t take place in a gym.
- Reverse the recent losses in our investment portfolio.
On the DD front, my aspirations include:
- Weekly reporting of any misbehavior. I started this one last year but my consistency was dismal.
- Inject some additional kink into our disciplinary relationship. I don’t have anything really firm in mind for this one, but maybe something like being spanked outdoors or in a car.
- Finally, after 15+ years, cry from a spanking.
I haven’t asked Anne what her
resolutions might be, but here are a few she might consider that do reflect what I see as particularly relevant to our relationship:
How about you? Do you have any specific goals or aspirations for the new year, whether related to domestic discipline or more vanilla aspects of your life or relationship? Anything that you particularly want to achieve? Any specific bad behaviors you’d like conquer?
I hope you have a great 2022. The bar is set awfully low for this to be a better year, but let’s all try to do our part. Of course, I said the exact same thing last year, and look how that turned out.