The warm breeze is soothing and causes me to reflect on how much my life has changed. I am on my porch, rocking back and forth on a swinging seat and quietly laughing because I am now officially “country,” a term native New Yorkers like myself use to describe something from the South that they deemed uncool.

Having a porch is a gift, a blessing, and represents a place of shelter and homeownership. I think about my ancestors who once sat on porches in the South before migrating up North to live in overcrowded conditions, searching for a better life their progeny now receives.  

I am at peace as I lift my legs off the ground and feel the momentum of the swing. After grinding since age 14, I can finally exhale and smell the proverbial roses as I check off my mental lists of perceived accomplishments. Pursuit of higher education? Done. Obtained husband? Done, but epic fail. Had children? A prolonged, rocky and painful start because of infertility but done. Successful career? Successful? Maybe not. I think I made a difference in the lives of medically underserved women but experienced severe burnout in the process. Am I grateful for the opportunity to serve? Absolutely.

As time marches on and the years behind me exceed the ones yet to come, I am much more appreciative of the gift we call time. Each second is golden, and I minimize its use on frivolous things.  Gossip, judgment, and ignorance no longer garner my attention.

Butterflies and love bugs swirl and dance amid my begonias and purple pentas.  I inhale and exhale the air in a meditative state as an affirmation of gratitude for this sacred space I occupy.

In these quiet moments of observation comes life’s most profound guidance and thought-provoking questions. I appreciate how far I have come but know that there are many more miles yet to travel and a multitude of things left to do.