Dr. Areta Podhorodecki -MD,
– as told to The Silver Women
Women who inspired you as a young girl?
I was inspired by my teachers in high school. Especially my English teacher who was young idealistic and an intellectual.
She opened my eyes, she was left wing. My parents were so conservative.
It was refreshing to question and antagonize them a bit – and rebel !
Most valuable lesson taught by your mother?
My mother taught me to be independent!
Have my own career and not be financially reliant on any husband.
Even my father wanted me to be ‘a person, a man’ you can’t translate, it was in Ukrainian – he meant someone that commanded respect. My parents were immigrants to Australia after the war.
They started life after many broken years. All their aspirations were placed on me -all their dreams of a better life.
Medicine seemed a perfect career choice.
Have you made career changes over the years?
Always a doctor but I kept on studying despite pregnancies and babies to widen and expand my skills and like many insecure women of that age – to prove myself that I could pass those onerous exams.
“I have 3 board certifications the last in sports medicine
which I did at 50! And I enjoyed learning – still do !
I came from Australia as a young MD -got a residency in New York. I had a lot to prove and show to the underminers.”
Moving to New York, I knew no one except my husband. He met me and we fell in love. Asked me to marry him. Swept me off my feet! It was wonderful – he was sophisticated interesting successful and attractive. I took the plunge. My parents were heartbroken. The guilt and my mothers anger – I was an only child -stayed under the surface forever after. Yet it was a freedom to leave .What a chance to live in New York! I could be myself without justifying everything. My mother was very controlling. I couldn’t breathe or become myself. I am grateful to her for pushing me to become the best I could but sad about our difficult relationship.
The challenges were putting roots in the ground in NY. Making it and making friends and relationships .
Then raising a family. I liked my husbands family a lot so that really helped .
What are you most Grateful for ?
I am grateful for an exciting life.
We have been almost everywhere, traveled extensively. Intensely tried to do as much as possible with all New York offers. Worked hard but played hard. I love my job. It’s an honor to be a doctor. I meet the most wonderful people as patients. I have a fantastic family. My boys are incredible and so supportive loving and caring. It’s so touching .
Now they are protective as if I am a bit fragile – so sweet.
“I hope to be a doctor till I am very old and of no use. It is so great to feel you did something positive at least most days. It’s a wonderful gift
-so satisfying -and you continue to learn from your patients.”
Through the Decades!
20’s : I wish I had had more relationships. More boyfriends but med school is so intense and demanding.
Such a voyage!No time for anything else.Well for me it was number one priority.Then I got married at 27.
Which I loved – being married !! My husband was very cool.
30’s: So busy with board exams and babies. Overwhelming. A decade of not much sleep.
40’s: Last baby! I had him at 40. Mid 40 s started having more time. Feeling like a woman again.
Started feeling attractive and sexy. And I was established in my practice.
It was a good feeling, I had come of age!
50’s: Re-establishing female friendships. More time to exercise, learn meditation. More social life, not sweat the small stuff. Know you are a good survivor and strong!! Kids all graduating and getting into their lives. Becoming wonderful people. Enjoying their view points and personalities.
Becoming a better business woman! The 60 s are yet to come But I am trying to plan a good decade. Not waste life!
Thoughts on aging?
The downside … The slowing down. Rethinking the next phase of life. Reinventing yourself- things will and have to be different with time and age.
Life is a long term lease not an ownership.
The upside…Experience. Solving problems is so much easier. Being great at your craft. Wisdom.
Being philosophical. Calming down. You become more interesting because of your life experiences.
Your advice to young women of today?
Keep working (work hard). Keep up with all your women friends.
Your emotional network is irreplaceable.
Keep exercising. It helps with your coping skills!
– DR. Areta Podhorodecki MD
Images courtesy of Areta unless credited otherwise.
FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS
Book/Novel: When I was a young girl I loved the Trixie Beldon books. Trixie is the title character in a series of “girl detective” mysteries . Of late, Let the Great World Spin (Colum Mc Cann)
& Thrive (Arianna Huffington).
Film: Most recently The Dressmaker (Jocelyn Moorhouse)
and old time fav The Way We Were (Sydney Pollack)
Scent: Jolie Madame by Balmain which I discovered in my 20’s in Poland.
Rose Essential by Bulgari.
Flower: Orchids, Hyacinth and Lilies
City: New York City & Berlin
Skincare product you can’t live without: I have always used a toner. I like Aesops
Also Rationale Skincare is pretty good.
Lipstick:” Micavel” Kevin Aucoin
Food/Meal/Cuisine: Caviar, Oysters, Soups & Cheeses.
Style Icon: My Friend Lynn Nigro and Temple St Clair. I like elegance with a kick. Some humor!