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Cheers to a happy new year!

In the first week of December, we took a break from our fortnightly seminars on inverse problems which I have been co-organizing since March. Although now I don’t remember the specific reason why I took on this task, I am quite sure it was a combination of noticing the lack of seminars on such a specific topic and the American mindset of entrepreneurship I had at that time. I hadn’t done anything like that before, so I just embraced my curiosity on this new journey and hit the play button.

Since then, I have met incredibly talented people and hosted twelve speakers from nine different countries. When I first started scheduling this seminar series the main goal was to create an atmosphere where new research ideas could be illustrated. To my surprise and delight, I have received feedback on the series that has not only served its purpose as a bridge between researchers, but has also been useful to young mathematicians as an introduction to the inverse spectral problems course with the help of our YouTube channel.

Unfortunately though, for some time now, no matter how much time and effort I devote to finding new speakers, I keep reaching a dead end. And as I usually do when something professional is on the table, I turned a blind eye to what I have achieved so far, and saw the glass half empty. I was either going to reschedule the old participants just to keep the ball rolling, or come to terms with the fact that everything has its own life span that I cannot control. I took the latter option.

Once I stopped ignoring the clear end of an era, I encountered a call for proposals to organize a workshop which should be quite focused on a topic of current importance. This time, I had my epiphany with the Turkish mindset of entrepreneurship I have now, and emailed a colleague I met during the seminars. And guess what, we’ve already delegated roles and responsibilities during the application process. We’re keeping our fingers crossed as the new year is around the corner.

Speaking of which, as the last blog post of 2022 was published, I would now like to make a small list of the things I am beyond grateful for and the things I wish I would have done differently this past year.

First of all, I am beyond grateful for the time I had spent on the other side of the world. It was not always fun and easy being all alone. However, the whole experience was definitely worth it. All the ups and downs I’d gone through gave me the courage to ask for more in life.

The way I defined myself completely changed. My definition of success is no longer how it used to be. I no longer define myself with what I do. I am more than my job and my title. I still love doing math, writing papers, attending conferences, meeting new people, challenging myself to go further, and all that, but I also love not doing anything at all, and not feeling guilty about it.

I still feel comfortable if I know my daily schedule in advance, but if anything unexpected happens, it doesn’t make me feel like my whole life is out of control. I still consider myself lucky if I drive home much faster than usual thanks to the run of green lights I encounter on my way through, but it is also completely fine if I see a consecutive number of red lights. In those moments of discontinuation, my mindful self reminds me there must be something worth pausing to see before hitting the gas again and continuing my journey.

Last but not least, here is a little reminder to myself regarding every occasion I wish I would have acted differently. “The winner is not the one who always makes the best decisions. The winner is the one who works the cycle. In other words, who’s willing to take a risk, will interact with some degree of faith, and eat the consequences. If the consequences are bad, then you gotta work the cycle again.”

Starting a blog was one of the best things I have done during this past year. I appreciate everyone who read it, made comments, hit the like button, and sent me messages and emails to let me know how they felt about my posts every month. I am going to continue chasing the things that give me hope, happiness, and a glimpse of a better life. Stay tuned everyone. See you next year.

December 2022, Mersin


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