It depends if you kept your playonline account or not. Your playonline account is free, and if you keep it, you can restore all of your content ID's (with the characters you had). Not sure of how long though. I've heard people saying that SE can only hold your character info for 3 months, and anything after that, it'll get deleted. But I've also read people talking about on the FFXI Main about how they've had the game canceled for over a year, but then when they restored their ID's, their characters were still there.
So if you still have your playonline account, login it and see if you can restore your content ID's. If you can, you can get your old character back. If you can't, then I guess you'll just have to start over unfortunately.
If you are going to start back up, then welcome back! ^_^
____________________________Thread title: People who suck.
***ieatmice for eating mice.(lolz)
I love Micey. She was full of so much win. Win and *****.
Ieatmice is a f*cking harbinger.