Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D. is a Gynecologist, Director of the New York Menopause Center, Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Assistant Attending Obstetrician and Gynecologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She is a board certified fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Allen is also a member of the Faculty Advisory Board and the Women’s Health Director of The Weill Cornell Community Clinic (WCCC). Dr. Allen was the recipient of the 2014 American Medical Women’s Association Presidential Award.

By Dr. Patricia Yarberry Allen

I become a bit more mellow with each day of vacation.  I wouldn’t describe myself  as ever reaching that plateau of normal that I aspire to, but perhaps that won’t happen in this life.

I am taking time today to count my blessings and to think about the 21st century world that we have created as only a woman with a mature mind can do.

I tick the blessings off and put them on the umbrelled table here on the bay.  I get such joy from seeing these treasures.  Some would be viewed as too imperfect to put on display, but I have learned to love the imperfect, placing my fingers into the cracks and chips of what would otherwise be just, you know, a perfect little knickknack.  I remember how those imperfections occurred and how I felt then and feel so differently now.

When I was younger, it all had to be perfect.  Perfect husband, perfect children, perfect dinner parties, perfect clothes, perfection at work.  I have the temperament for this…wanting it to always to be just right.  Well, life for me has been messy and unpredictable and certainly not perfect; but at 60 I relish the pratfalls and bad choices and misadventures of that younger self.

I am healthy enough.  I have boundless energy.  I am madly in love with the high maintenance one and have two high maintenance sons who have found joy in relationships and work.  My mother is 89 and too dear to me for descriptions.  I love my brothers and sisters more than I could have ever imagined.

I have fewer friends but that is by choice.  I treasure the company of these women and a few men.  Friendship takes time and in this part of life I am finding that time.  I love the company of smart women who share passions for the written and spoken word, an interest in the grand world outside our living rooms and the hope that we can make a difference… one word, one small act at a time.

After the easy exercise of reviewing my blessings, I gather my courage to fight off hopelessness as I review the landscape of the 21st century world.

The world around us seems to spinning out of control.  Wars every where.  Nuclear arsenals in the most unbelievable places.  Famine.  Refugee camps.  Slavery.  Abuse unmentionable to women and children.  Our place in the world as a moral leader is in crisis.  Our role as the policeman of the planet in grave doubt both here and all over the world.

The economic crisis will not go away.  We will be making increasingly painful choices based on an inflationary economy, a shrinking tax base, rising unemployment, an aging population and the unimaginable national debt.

We are facing a presidential election with more riding on the right choice for this big job than ever before.  Women over 40 are thinking seriously about these issues and what the candidates say now and what they have done in their past to help us imagine what they will do as leaders, as the BIG CEO of America, and who their management team will be.

We won’t be ignored just because we aren’t at the big boy’s table.  No one owns our votes simply because…It would be a mistake for either candidate to count us out or treat our votes and our determination to keep the world from falling apart dismissively. And when we do give our votes to the person we choose,  our voices will be tied to those votes.  Voices that are louder than at anytime before in our history and voices that will not be silenced.

Oh well, another average vacation day here on the Cape.  Let’s face it, one woman’s Paradise could always be another woman’s Purgatory.  At least it isn’t The Inferno.

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  • Evelyn Lorge August 25, 2008 at 10:26 am

    I very much enjoyed reading your answer.
    Thanks for sending it to me

    Reply