Back in October, I circled today’s date on the calendar. Knowing that the next few months would be incredibly intense, I decided to opt-out of the traditional New Year’s planning process, deferring it until I reached a natural pause in my schedule.

In fact, I had no idea how true that would be.

From Halloween through to February, the rest days were few and far between. I justified my growing addiction to Monster Rehab and the spaced-out hours of television that creeped back into my schedule. And then my body simply gave out. On February 6, it decided that the marathon was over, succumbing to a nasty case of strep throat. I don’t remember much about the 7th through the 19th, but my time logs tell me that I did little other than critical work and sleep. The 20th to the 27th was still a vacation of sorts, though I slept for much of it as well.

Looking back, I’m not sure there’s much I could have done differently. In the future, I’ll be sure to avoid travel and conferences during the winter, knowing that my immune system is likely weakened. I’ll also have a few more team members in place to provide backup when I inevitably stumble.

That’s probably the biggest gift I received during this time: realizing the amazing folks that I get to experience life with. You all are special, and I’m thankful to know you.

So, what’s next?

First, I’m throwing out all of the excuses and getting back to my disciplined daily routine. I’ll likely share more about that in future posts, as I think it could be useful to you too. And I’d love to hear more about how you organize your days.

Second, I’ve decided to write again. Badly, if necessary. It’s definitely a skill that goes stale quickly. Right now, I’m aiming for 500 words a day.

Mostly, I’m going to revisit my goals and plans for the next 12 months and beyond. I’m excited about what the future holds, and I have an odd peace about the way life has evolved in recent weeks. I feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be.

As I count down the hours of the first day of my personal new year, I invite you to do the same. Ignore the calendar, and pick a time of reflection and assessment that works for you. There’s nothing inherently magical about January 1. We can choose to start again anytime we’d like.