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.

I am taking time for friendship this fall, no matter that the politicians and the media analysts have plastered all the light posts of my town and your town, no matter where we live, with signs proclaiming, “from Wall Street to Main Street”.  One has to take back one’s life from the frenzied speculation about the end of the world as we have known it and continue to live. We have to start over, wherever we are, and remake our lives.  We must find time for friends who have common sense and are capable of both connection and  conversation,  as we begin again, wherever we find ourselves in these uncertain times.

We must not wait for Washington or Wall Street to plan our lives for us, while life passes by.

I joined a wonderful women’s club this year and it has provided a serene retreat for tea and dinner with friends.  I invited a woman whom I have known for 23 years to dinner there tonight.  We have larger than life husbands who take up a lot of the emotional  and conversational air in a room separately, and together …well ,I think you get the picture.  The girls, no shrinking violets by the way, generally have no chance for real conversation when the four of us spend time together.

The tempo of this evening was so different from our raucous dinners as coupled friends. We discussed the issues of the day in the private and public arena.

We found common interest and support anew for our special passions in public service for the city and its institutions that we love.  We exchanged ideas for personal management of big city stress that is part of our lives.  And most importantly, we made plans for tomorrow and the tomorrow after, choosing to take a night off from the crisis of the boom or bust that has permeated the talk talk talk of American chatter these last 2 weeks.

Friendship and conversation are the prescription that will invigorate us when our spirit has been assaulted by the panic and fear of the mob of the moment.   Wisdom that comes with being a real grown-up gives us the capacity to withdraw for an evening, to review the hostile terrain of the street fights and to emerge with energy and determination to find balance in the life that we must reinvent.

Dinner over, I walked the main street of my town for 40 blocks at 10 o’clock tonight.  I know that the economic crisis and the issues that face all Americans during this election season demand attention, but sometimes we need to get some perspective.  And for me, life doesn’t get much better than this..a night out with a friend, then walking 40 blocks on a New York autumn night .

– Dr. Patricia Yarberry Allen

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  • Janet Wendy Spiegel October 5, 2008 at 12:06 am

    I love this post. In any crisis who better to lean on and find strength from than family and friends? In my family, we get together every Friday night, at one of our homes, to take a few hours and reconnect. We’re in LA, so no 40 block walks in this city, but enjoying a coffee under the stars, with my mother, sisters, brother-in-law and all our children does have a way of reminding me of what the worth of life really is.