When I walked into my fourth-grade classroom for the first time, our teacher had written in large letters on the chalkboard: ADAPT TO YOUR ENVIRONMENT. It was a big thought for a class of 10-year-olds, but it has stayed with me. My daughters put it another way: "Mom, get with the program already." It's good advice. As I later learned in another classroom, it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change, to credit Charles Darwin.
Words like adapt and change are sometimes difficult to put into action because as we grow older and wiser we may feel we have finally found our values, our method for success, and a strong inner voice. And to then change to new ways of thinking and living can seem ... well, somewhat off-balance.
But look around and you will see that adaptation and change are what moves us from surviving to thriving. Being flexible does not mean being floppy and wishy-washy; it involves being limber, having the ability to bend and stretch. Achieving this applies to both mind and body.
It means embracing the why not? versus the why?
This issue of WebMD the Magazine is filled with inspiring people who have embraced change for themselves and others. American Idol's Randy Jackson tells us about his inspiring journey toward better health. We find Jennie Garth, who returns to the new version of the popular TV show 90210 and who recently impressed on Dancing With the Stars, helping her three children and herself with wise parenting and a healthy outlook on everyday living. Raising the Bar actor Gloria Reuben, who played one of the first openly HIV-positive characters on prime-time TV in ER, tells how she taps into her knowledge from her character in her current work as a real-life AIDS activist. And Extreme Makeover: Home Edition's landscaper/designer Eduardo Xol is all about balance: Finding it in his own life, helping his sister who has lupus achieve it, and introducing it to our homes and lifestyles.
And be sure to read about our 2008 Health Heroes, all of whom are ordinary Americans who have taken extraordinary measures to help others who face medical challenges.
You, too, can take in the new, the different, and the challenging and find ways to grow along the way. We can help you in that journey. Find everything you need on WebMD.com. Great things can and often do happen. In the words of the "Dawg" (as Randy Jackson calls himself): "Dude, I feel great today. I am fortunate and happy to be on the path that I am on."
Warmest wishes for happiness and health this holiday season,
Nan-Kirsten Forte, MS
Editor in Chief, WebMD the Magazine