Today is the last day of the year 2022. Wow! What a fantastic journey it was. Now, when I look back on 2022, I am astonished. Like everyone, I embarked on my 2022 journey with many resolutions. Some, I aced; in some, I failed. I can undoubtedly tell everyone that I have cherished every day this year. There is nothing for which I should repent. I passed the litmus test of life in 2022. Allow me to take you on my unforgettable journey of the year.
I was tense about how fruitful this year will turn out for me. But, at the same time, the spirits were high. In the second week of January, my academic advisor, Denis Blackmore, took a leave from the college due to some health reasons.
I was constantly in touch with him, and he told me he was doing fine. But, my anxiousness was growing exponentially. I used to walk near the park near my house to find solace. I am a self-claimed photographer and take pictures whenever I see a good view. I took a picture of the first snowfall of the year. Here it is:
The month of February started with Denis’s email saying: My medical problem is more complicated than I thought, and I’m undergoing a series of tests today. After a few days, I received another email from him saying: My medical problem is much more severe than I thought. He added, you have been outstanding students even for the short time we’ve been together, and I wish you all the best. Now, I was concerned. Four days later, I received another email from him saying: I am so happy to have you as my student, but I can not advise you because I need to get an operation, which will follow by two months of bed rest. He added you have never disappointed me as a student, and you will not if you choose a new advisor. After this email, I tried to reach out to him, but all efforts were in vain. I was in shock. Though I am not religious, I visited the temple for the well-being of my advisor. The picture of the temple I visited in New Jersey:
In March, the weather is pleasant to do all the outdoor activities. I play cricket when I am stressed, and yes, this time, I was worried because of things that happened in the last couple of months. While playing cricket, I broke my right leg right before spring break. But, my pain never took over my spirit. I was going to school for my teaching duties. While I was home, I cooked for myself. I cleaned the whole apartment alone- nobody helped me. My body’s inner strength healed me, both mentally and physically. Also, we all got a response to the card we sent to Denis for his speedy recovery. He said; the card brought tears to his eyes, and he misses all of us. In the midst, I found a moment to astray my thoughts. My school’s Indian association for students gave me a chance to celebrate an Indian festival called Holi. Holi is the Festival of colors. Here is a picture from the celebration:
By the month’s end, I realized I was on my own now, and nothing could shake me.
I decided to switch to a new advisor after three years in my Ph.D. program. I was starting my Ph.D. from scratch. I was worried, but not as much as I was concerned about Denis. Now, I started working on a completely different project. But, my new advisor, Professor Roy Goodman, made everything easy. He is the mentor I was looking for in this challenging time. Everything was going smoothly; I was improving in every way. I was becoming more informed about things. Then on April 28th, I heard the news that Denis had passed away. I was devastated. I didn’t know how I should react. But, again, Roy rescued me from this time. Most of the month went into wrapping up the semester. One time I got a chance to visit a café (called Intrinsic Café) near my school for the very first time in three years. Here is the picture:
Spring had turned into Summer. But it was a Fall season for me, Dark and Gloomy. Now, I was recovering from two things: Denis’s death and my broken leg. Meanwhile, in India, things were not good with my family. Everything seemed to be falling apart. I wanted to leave everything behind and wanted to go back to India. But my parents and the family I have made here in the US eased everything for me. My friends, Nick and David, used to come every day to check on me to see if I was doing fine, and I will always be indebted to their friendship. In the department of mathematics at my school, we organize an Annual Conference on Frontiers in Applied and Computational Mathematics (FACM’22). I was one of the volunteers for the conference. I made a lot of good friends from different universities. On the last day of the meeting, we all celebrated our success. Here is the picture:
I had a balanced month in May 2022.
I had recovered physically, but mentally. I was feeling better. The process of healing teaches you everything. The best way to deal with any situation is to face it. I was facing everything that was in my way and was gaining more and more strength. The world can not exist without dualities. We can only define what is wrong with right already existing and vice-versa. And so, the power I was gaining was for some reason. Something was coming where I needed to use that strength. On June 25th, I lost my dog. I won’t express how I felt; the readers know the feeling. The last picture of my dog that I took back in India:
On the 4th of July, I went out with my friends to celebrate the USA independence day and see the fireworks. Here is the picture I took:
On July 15th, I joined a summer teaching program at my school to keep myself diverted from the things that had already happened in my life. I feel relaxed when I teach. I was feeling happy because of the interaction with different kinds of students. But, the thing is, I can’t keep myself out of trouble. I broke the same leg again- this time, with four hair-line fractures. The doctor put me in a gigantic boot. I was in an ever-ending loop of troubles again.
As I was in bed again, I got into the hobby of reading. I read a total of five books this month. Here is the list of the books I read:
Total Freedom by J.Krishnamurti
Thus Spake Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche
The Upanishads by Eknath Easwaran
The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak
Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
As soon as I got the strength to stand on my feet again, I went out with my friends. The place is called Greenroom, located in Harrison, New Jersey. This place can make a corpse alive, all credit to the amiable bartenders. Here is a picture of my friends (David and Nick) and me with a few staff members (Jules and Sam ) of the Greenroom.
On September 5th, I started my final semester of the year. I knew that I was lagging behind in my Ph.D. My friends, who started with me in 2019, had already defended their Ph.D. thesis proposal. And here I was, starting everything fresh. My advisor is a gem. He helped me with everything. I started learning about new things I hadn’t seen before; that’s how research works. The best thing about my advisor is that he genuinely wants the person to understand. I had started getting my pace back.
Meanwhile, I actively started participating in UCAN (United Council of Academics @NJIT), which works for the rights of research students and adjuncts at my school. At a UCAN event, I clicked a picture with Brian (President, UCAN). Here is the picture: Brian (left) and me (right).
In general, the month of September was full of positivity.
The month is full of festivals. Diwali is the biggest festival in India, followed by Halloween. Diwali is the festival of lights. In 2022, India celebrated Diwali on October 24th. I went with my friends to an Indian street in Jersey City to celebrate Diwali. Here is the picture from the Diwali celebration:
On October 31st, I celebrated Halloween with my friends. Here is the picture of me (pumpkin)with my friend (Nick):
October was full of celebrating and reviving something lost in me.
November is a month full of birthdays. On November 3rd, one of my cousins celebrated his birthday in India. On November 5th, my other cousin celebrated her birthday in India. On November 7th, my aunt celebrated her birthday. On November 10th, my sister celebrated her birthday. On November 14th, my uncles (14 years of age difference) celebrated their birthdays. On November 22nd, I celebrated my 28th birthday. On my birthday, I started my day by announcing that I would offer everyone free mathematics (undergraduate/graduate) tutoring for my birthday. Later, I went with my friends to an Indian restaurant to celebrate the occasion. The day was absolute pandemonium. Here is the picture from my birthday celebration:
The month of December started poorly. On December 2nd, I received a phone from my father telling me about the passing away of my maternal grandfather. It was a significant loss in my life. A void was created in my life again. I was on phone calls for hours with my parents to know how are they doing. I wanted to visit India and see my parents. But, I had a few deadlines for my Ph.D. that hindered me from going. I am glad they have healed from their loss, and I have successfully submitted my Ph.D. thesis proposal, which I will defend on January 11th, 2023. I am excited about it.
On December 14th, Jules, at the Greenroom, sketched my fat version, which I love. I am overeating to look like this. Look at the picture below:
On December 25th, I celebrated Christmas in China Town in New York; while walking on the streets, I clicked on a beautiful picture. Here is the picture:
I took another picture while walking on the streets of New York City.
I learned much from the year 2022. Though it was a year of losses; but, I have no complaints. I plan to cultivate the art of freudenfreude in 2023. I hope you all enjoyed reading my article. Thank you for patiently reading my article. I wish you all a Happy New Year 2023. Let’s keep the past in the past and start living in the present.
2 thoughts on “Adieu, 2022!”
“Every position that you ﬁnd yourself in, every situation that you ﬁnd yourself in, with whomever you ﬁnd yourself with, the positions that you have or don’t have, wherever you may be in this world, is your right place at this moment. Bless this. Love it.”
~ Robert Adams
May these experiences long enrich you.
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Thank you for sharing this thought with me. Happy New Year, Bhaiya!