Columnists, Articles

January 1st, 2017

Ask me about my granddoggie

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

Some of the nicest people I know have dogs. Either their number is increasing or they are poised in an ever-tightening circle around me until I shall soon hear nothing but their heartwarming stories of canine companionship. The stories are seductive and so are the photos, proudly displayed on smart phones or sent in text messages and emails. It’s enough to make me go out and get a dog. On the other hand, dog ownership is a big responsibility and not something to take lightly, especially not if you are just starting to enjoy the freedom that comes with retirement. [More]

December 1st, 2016

A walk through time and history

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

Sometimes we have to remind ourselves to slow down, especially when we travel. And so my wife and I started the morning with breakfast in a park near our London hotel, relaxing at an outdoor café overlooking an expansive lawn punctuated with beds of autumn flowers. For our main event of the day, we planned a visit to Westminster Abbey. The rest we left to chance and whim, never considering that we would spend most of the day in church or what we would take with us when we left. I had been coming to London since my days in [More]

November 1st, 2016

Traveling with the eyes of faith

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

I thought I knew all the benefits of travel but a recent trip to England introduced me to one I had yet to consider, travel as an act of faith. In its theological meaning, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. When I said good-bye to my checked baggage in Boston, the substance of my hope was simply that we would meet again in London the next morning. Between now and then, both of us would travel on the same two airplanes, my wife and I in a pressurized cabin, our baggage out of [More]

October 1st, 2016

Irrepressible soul

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

In a book group discussing the spirituality of caring for people with dementia, it doesn’t take long before we begin to discuss how dementia affects the personhood of the afflicted. It is a question at once philosophical and practical. What remains when dementia has robbed a person of his memories and his capacity to think logically, speak coherently and express relevant ideas and emotions? On a practical level, if the answer is nothing of the individual’s former self, then his loved ones can spare themselves the anguish and inconvenience of regular visits. In that sense, our loved one has already [More]

August 19th, 2016

Non-compete agreements raise issues

By Edward Stern J.D.

Massachusetts is taking another look at non-compete agreements. Historically, non-compete agreements were in place to limit an employee, who leaves the employment of a particular employer, from competing with that employer after his term of employment ends. The concept of these non-compete agreements was based on a belief that the employer has provided the employee with specific training or inside, proprietary information (such as trade secrets or customer-patient lists), which should be limited in its use competing against the employer. The countervailing pressure, in support of an employee going to a new position without any constraints, is that an employee [More]

August 19th, 2016

The surprising life of Sister Mary

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

At the risk of appearing to be living a cliché of the retired life, I must say that I have been spending more time these days reading obituaries. It could be because I have more time to read the morning paper and the obituaries are printed in the same section as the funnies. I always turn to the funnies after a brief glance at the bad news on the front page. Bad news can wait and, if I somehow miss it in the paper, that’s what television and Internet news programs are for. I also receive obituaries by email from [More]

July 1st, 2016

One Perfect Life

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

“There is not a short life or a long life. There is only the life that you have and the life you have is the life you are given, the life you work with. It has its own shape, describes its own arc and is perfect.” This passage, attributed to the ancient Greeks, is easy enough for anyone favored by fortune but these are hard words for those who find themselves at a significant disadvantage. It would be hard to argue that life is anything less than perfect if it is long, filled with loving family and friends, material comforts [More]

June 1st, 2016

The next best thing to being there

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

Today there are more ways than ever to stay in touch with family and friends and, as I am discovering, each has its own preferred modes of expression, rules of etiquette, advantages, and risks. For a few days last month, I traded emails with three friends whom I have known for more than 50 years as we shared our reactions to the passing of Daniel Berrigan, the priest, poet and antiwar activist who inspired many of our generation. The constraints of time and distance limit our face-to-face encounters to only a few times a year but emails, texts, and periodic [More]

May 1st, 2016

Pruning our lives

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

It is a warm Friday morning in April and my wife is out to an estate sale. If she sees anything interesting, she will buy it or, if it is something big or expensive, she will call me for a second opinion. This is our usual arrangement and it has worked well over the years to keep our accumulation of treasures within reasonable limits. These days we are buying less and discarding more or at least that is our intention. I used to think that this kind of downsizing was an annoying habit of old people too focused on preparing [More]

April 1st, 2016


By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

He said he didn’t care what happened to him so he didn’t seem to be bothered that he was still in the custody of the court and confined to the hospital. His indifference was part of his depression and his depression had invaded the very core of his identity. If he had his way, he would end his life and pass on to the next world or to no world at all. Anything was better than living with the loss of the dream that he was so close to achieving before it all crashed. The man was stuck. Despite the [More]