From the Editor: Inside the January Issue

By Jennifer Dulin Wiley
In Culture

1_January_2014_cover_typeThe New Year is a time for fresh starts and making changes. I’m a personal believer that resolutions, whether big or small, speak to character—and keeping them is even more of a testament to that resolve. Given the New Year and my own thoughts around resolutions, I was especially inspired by the two features that appear in our January issue.

After shadowing St. Louis’ own Jackie Joyner-Kersee on several occasions, writer Jeremy Nulik turned out an in-depth cover story on the hometown champion, who has had her fair share of challenges and rebirths in the 30 years since her first Olympic fame. Since winning the gold in both the heptathlon and long jump at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea, Joyner-Kersee has launched a foundation and funded the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Community Center in her hometown of East St. Louis; she has since seen that center fail and suffered the fallout of questions surrounding its financial management—only to find angel investors who have recently helped rebuild the center and form a new foundation board. All the while, Joyner-Kersee has been an inspirational speaker, an advocate for healthy living, a life coach and workshop instructor and—last, but not least—a supporter of the urban farm movement. (She launched Family Roots International, a for-profit urban farming company, in 2012 in an effort to give underserved residents of North City the knowledge and tools to earn a living.) But throughout the trials and tribulations, Joyner-Kersee has stayed true to her life’s mission: to keep an uplifting attitude and teach people how to be a true champion. In the words of Nulik, “This is the stuff of legend.” We couldn’t agree more.

Writer Brandi Wills switches the gears of this issue—literally—in our first ever personal essay on living car-free in St. Louis. Though her decision wasn’t made with resolution timing in mind, the impact that being car-free has had on her life is just as significant. February will mark a year and a half of being car independent in St. Louis for Wills, who shares insights into her own experience, as well as those of other St. Louisans, that are both incredibly poignant and, at times, laugh-out-loud humorous. What moved me most about Wills’ experience was her realization that, “Not being in a car, focused on where I’m going and how quickly I can get there, has brought me newfound peace of mind on a permanent basis.” If that doesn’t sell you on the lifestyle at least a little bit, I don’t know what will. And although I’m not putting my car up for sale tomorrow, Wills’ account did open my eyes to an entirely different way of thinking and living in St. Louis.

No matter what resolution or life change you have in the works, I wish you well on your journey. Here’s to a healthful, happy and prosperous 2014!

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