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Only Human with Joan Axelrod-Contrada: To journal or not to journal: Advice for when journaling feels like it’s holding you back
04-12-2024 8:43 AM

By JOAN AXELROD-CONTRADA

Anyone who’s ever kept a journal can relate to the song “Dear Diary” by the Moody Blues.The tune came out in 1969 at the height of my adolescent angst. I poured my misery into a pocket-sized pink diary with a lock to keep away prying eyes. Like the...

Displaying articles 1 to 17 out of 17 total.
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Only Human with Joan Axelrod-Contrada: Laugh more, stress less: How humor can help us through our most painful times
07-11-2024 1:23 PM

By JOAN AXELROD-CONTRADA

Songs that combine a good metaphor with a bouncy beat rocket me into my word-nerd, ear-worm stratosphere. “Everyday I Write the Book” by Elvis Costello tops my list.How cool to think of our lives as books that we’re writing! Costello frames the song...


Only Human with Joan Axelrod-Contrada: Marching to a ‘Different Drum’: Is Living Apart Together the future of relationships?
06-20-2024 2:39 PM

By JOAN AXELROD-CONTRADA

Linda Ronstadt’s 1967 song “Different Drum” came out during a time of changing gender roles in our country.While the commitment-phobic Peter Pan had long garnered praise as a ladies’ man, the woman who bucked expectations of domesticity got saddled...


Only Human with Joan Axelrod-Contrada: Dating across the aisle: Can we see past politics in our relationships?
05-09-2024 12:57 PM

By JOAN AXELROD-CONTRADA

Every time I hear “One Tribe” by the Black Eyed Peas my idealistic and dance-happy sides unite in sonic bliss.I picture everyone coming together in some magic club beaming the feel-good vibes of the boundary-busting band, washing away all our...


Only Human with Joan Axelrod-Contrada: I want to ‘Paint it Black’: A rock ’n’ roll anthem provides validation through tough times
03-07-2024 1:07 PM

By JOAN AXELROD-CONTRADA

I heard the song “Paint It Black” by the Rolling Stones on the radio early in my late husband Fred’s illness.Never before had I listened to the lyrics carefully enough to know they were about grief. I’d always taken it as a song about generalized...


Only Human with Joan Axelrod-Contrada: ‘Money, it’s a gas’: Exploring both sides of the coin when costly bills surprise us
02-08-2024 1:34 PM

By JOAN AXELROD-CONTRADA

Every time I hear the classic song “Money” by Pink Floyd, I think about my complicated relationship with the almighty dollar.Who hasn’t felt pushed and pulled between the seductive power of our currency and its ability to crush us? Not surprisingly,...


Only Human with Joan Axelrod-Contrada: Is it possible to stay young forever?
01-11-2024 10:13 AM

By JOAN AXELROD-CONTRADA

I recently found myself singing along to the chorus of “Forever Young” by Bob Dylan.Written as a lullaby for one of his sons, the song takes the form of an ancient prayer. Dylan’s verses directly address the child as “you” and lay out hopes for his...


Only Human with Joan Axelrod-Contrada: Loving the ‘sing’ in single
12-07-2023 3:58 PM

By JOAN AXELROD-CONTRADA

Want a rousing anthem for all the uncoupled people of the world?Look no further than the infectiously catchy tune “Single” by British singer-songwriter Natasha Bedingfield. In the song, the narrator issues her own declaration of independence. Just...


Only Human with Joan Axelrod-Contrada: ‘I’d Love to Change the World’
11-10-2023 12:44 PM

By JOAN AXELROD-CONTRADA

My oldies station played “I’d Love to Change the World” by Ten Years After one day when I was taking stock of my life.The lyrics spoke to me in a way they hadn’t when the song came out in 1971. As a teenager, I saw no disconnect between my idealism...


Only Human with Joan Axelrod-Contrada: Solo in paradise: How to handle a group vacation as the only single person
09-07-2023 2:04 PM

By JOAN AXELROD-CONTRADA

“Vacation” by the Go-Go’s sounds like the quintessential light, frothy, end-of-summer song.But beneath the ‘80s girl-group’s peppy, propulsive pop, lurk lyrics about longing and regret. Sadness gets transformed into pure ear candy. It’s a breezy beach...


Only Human with Joan Axelrod-Contrada: Finding my own Promised Land: The power of music to guide the way through dark times
08-10-2023 2:08 PM

By JOAN AXELROD-CONTRADA

In 2018, I made the wrenching decision to move my husband, Fred, into an assisted-living facility because I could no longer care for him myself. Every day, I made the 40-minute trek from Northampton to Agawam in my new Rav 4, which I’d named Ruby...


Only Human with Joan Axelrod-Contrada: Coming to terms with addiction as a disease
07-13-2023 1:40 PM

By JOAN AXELROD-CONTRADA

Amy Winehouse’s song “Rehab” helped me grapple with a pesky reality.Sadly, not everyone suffering from addiction gets better. The narrator of the song wants us to believe that she has her life under control. With a voice full of sass and defiance, she...


Only Human with Joan Axelrod-Contrada: The power of accessorizing: How the little things we wear can spark joy
06-08-2023 3:29 PM

By JOAN AXELROD-CONTRADA

In the summer of ‘69, I wore a flower in my hair just like in the Scott McKenzie song.San Francisco’s Haight-Asbury district buzzed with hippie energy as our teen tour bus made its way down the West Coast. The gentle melody of “San Francisco (Be Sure...


Only Human: Go ahead and date again!
05-11-2023 4:38 PM

By JOAN AXELROD-CONTRADA

Long before the rise of internet dating, lonely souls turned to the classified ads to find love.The song “Want Ads” soared to the top of the Billboard charts in 1971. This catchy tune by a girl group called the Honey Cone tells the story of a young...


Only Human: Broken hearts and musical sweet spots
04-13-2023 2:01 PM

By JOAN AXELROD-CONTRADA

Al Green’s song, “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” tickles my musical comfort food sweet spot.We all have songs that feel just right for whatever we need at the time. Some tunes energize us for the day ahead, get us psyched to exercise, or help take...


Only Human: ‘Family’ can be a lot more than relatives
03-10-2023 11:16 AM

By JOAN AXELROD-CONTRADA

When I first heard the song “We Are Family” in 1979, I desperately wanted to morph into one of the four Sledge sisters.The band Sister Sledge made sisterhood look absolutely exuberant. In their sparkly red disco garb, they sang about being birds of a...


Only Human with Joan Axelrod-Contrada: Welcome to the ‘Magical Land of We’
02-09-2023 3:49 PM

By JOAN AXELROD-CONTRADA

Relationships are like Venn diagrams.We all start with a circle of our own, which I call Myself. Then another sphere comes into our orbit as Yourself. Together, we create a special area of overlap: the Magical Land of We.Every relationship develops...


Only Human with Joan Axelrod-Contrada: In praise of January and getting older
01-12-2023 4:29 PM

By JOAN AXELROD-CONTRADA

A few years ago, a Facebook message took me by surprise.“Congratulations on another trip around the sun!” a friend wrote on my page.Wow, I had never thought of my birthday in celestial terms! An image flashed in my mind of me in a superhero costume...

Displaying articles 1 to 17 out of 17 total.
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