For so many years in business, I succumbed to the January mandate of “get out there and make something happen!” After all, January is the start of a new year, a time for resolutions, the perfect excuse for launching new goals and strategies and programs. Clients want new initiatives in the first month of the year, right? Isn’t that what they expect? My bosses always exhorted me to get on the road in January – traveling to conventions, visiting customers and announcing innovative efforts. I’m afraid, however, that my heart was never in it. For me, the Tuesday after Labor Day has always seemed much more appropriate as the start of a new year. September is the time for new shoes and crisp new folders, blank paper and fresh ideas.
In the frigid, unconscious, grey days of January, I want to hunker down and do the hard work of imagining, researching and preparing. In the weeks after New Year’s, my heart turns to planning and filling in the details of our next escape. Over the years, it’s become a ritual of the Martin Luther King holiday weekend: first, I thank God for this great man and what he did for our country and second, I make the initial arrangements for our summer getaway. I’ve always said that I work in order to travel and that I pay our vacation fund before I go to the grocery store. It’s always been this way and I suspect it will never change.
This year, more than ever before, all I want to do this January is plan for and dream about leaving for our gap year in September. As I observe the steely, oh-so-dismal frozen Maryland landscape through the plantation shutters of my bedroom, my dewey-eyed imaginings of strolling through Granada, hiking in the Alps and sunning by a fountain in Provence take over. What I’m looking at now is ashen, lifeless. What I see in my minds-eye is in technicolor and vibrant – filled with promise and potential. Such are the initiatives and resolutions I focus on in January.