By AJ Willingham
Whether you’ve arrived at the finish line fresh and invigorated for another trip around the sun, or are so exhausted you may wheeze out your actual soul, 2017 is almost OVER.
Luckily, there are all kinds of cool and important things to look forward to in 2018 to mitigate all of the things you’ll inevitably come to loathe and dread as the year progresses.
So next time someone says, “Do we really have to go on living for another whole YEAR?” comfort them by mentioning these existence-friendly events, innovations and observances.
1. The Winter Olympics
Once every four years, the global powers of the world band together in an ongoing diplomatic effort to decide what, exactly, curling is and how it ever became a thing people did. 2018’s festivities will take over the city of PyeongChang, South Korea, for two weeks in February. One extremely chill story to look out for: The women’s Nigerian (!) bobsled (!!) team will compete, marking the first-ever time (!!!) the African nation is represented at the Winter Games. GET THEM A MOVIE NOW.
2. A royal wedding
Prince Harry and literal American dream Meghan Markle will get hitched in May. Reports are, it will be an intimate, casual ceremony at a rustic little chapel in Windsor Castle. Just your typical pastoral burlap-and-mason jar fÃªte, you know. For Americans, it’s a fantastic excuse to wear a funny hat and drink alcohol before noon. As is tradition, the Brits will pretend not to care, but the sudden boom in royal wedding-themed collectible plates and caganers will prove otherwise.
3. Really, really good movies
If you want to make the most of 2018, you should probably just glue yourself to a movie theater seat. “Black Panther” comes for your soul in February, and anything it leaves behind will surely be snatched up by “Avengers: Infinity War” in May. Elsewhere, “A Wrinkle in Time” drops in March, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingom” comes out in June and — this is the one you’ve all been waiting for — the awkward conclusion of the deeply unsexy “Fifty Shades” oeuvre will grace theaters in February, just months before it’s scheduled to show up in one of our 3 a.m. self-loathing Netflix binges.
4. The “Frozen” musical
“Frozen” hype is an infinitely renewable resource, and next year the feature-length earworm will come TO BROADWAYYY! While this is very exciting and cool, please remember to be safe. Seek immediate medical help for a “Let It Go” singalong lasting more than four hours.
5. The World Cup
Just because we’re not GOING doesn’t mean we can’t have a GOOD TIME, okay? This is like the royal wedding of soccer. We are not invited, it has nothing to do with us, but we’ll still wear silly hats and cheer like the loud, spectacle-loving people we are. Mark your calendars and choose your teams, America. June and July belong to the World (minus us) Cup.
6. Regular people going to the moon
In 2018, Silicon Valley startup Moon Express (slogan: “The Moon is Me”) says it’ll “definitely” land a craft on the moon, paving the way for a generation of rich space casuals to populate it like it’s the latest trendy New York City borough. If Moon Mission is successful, it would be the first private company to land a craft on the moon. The company’s final goal? To get folks on the moon and mine it for natural resources.
If this sounds like literal reach-for-the-moon talk, take this quote from Moon Express’ Chairman, Naveen Jain, as a chaser:
“We are really looking good and we are still hoping to launch the lander next year,” Jain told CNBC in November. “And when we launch and land on the moon, not only (do) we become the first company to do so, we actually symbolically become the fourth superpower.”
7. Must-see TV
It’ll be a good year to vegetate in front of your television or chosen device if and when reality gets unbearable. Steel yourself for more “Black Mirror” and “A Handmaid’s Tale,” as well as the last season of “Veep,” the return of “Westworld” and [checks giant Mayan calendar] Season 16 of “American Idol.”
Some noteworthy new shows to look out for: ” Black Lightning,” a “Dynasty” reboot and “The Alienist.”
8. Petting a headless robot cat and shaming yourself into eating better
Do we live in a world of transcendent progress and innovation, or an increasingly inhuman techno-dystopia? These are the types of questions you can ponder as you stroke your headless, purring therapy cat; one of the many new tech gadgets from Japan that’ll make its way into the mainstream next year.
Other innovations include a scanner that can count calories, a robot babysitter that appears to be a highly evolved Roomba and the advent of earprints — as opposed to fingerprints — as a security method. Fascinating.
9. A royal baby
As if the British monarchy hasn’t entertained us enough lately, Prince William and Duchess Katherine are expecting their third child in April. They’ve already done this twice, so royal baby fever is well past its half life. Here are some baby name odds for your amusement. We’ve got $100 on Henrietta or Boris.
10. Tesla’s truck stuff
WHERE ARE YOUR STEREOTYPES NOW, AMERICA? A pickup truck and other larger vehicle concepts from the eccentric duke of electric cars have been a long-rumored, oft-ridiculed concept. Even if trucks aren’t produced in 2018, we’ll get some solid details.
11. Midterm elections
Okay, are you necessarily looking forward to even more political rancor? No, of course not. But the midterm elections will be one of the most talked-about events of the year, not to mention the perfect opportunity for you to exercise your American right and VOTE.
12. Scalp cooling for chemo patients
You may have heard of this new medical breakthrough before — basically, it’s a cooling cap that’s worn before, during and after chemotherapy treatments, and it may reduce the likelihood of hair loss. The FDA approved the system in May 2017, and it’s one of the coolest and most highly-anticipated medical breakthroughs of 2018.
13. Maybe a new Game of Thrones book?
We predicted “Winds of Winter,” the next book in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” saga, would be released in 2017. It wasn’t. And with no new “Game of Thrones” set to bless our HBO logins in 2018, it’s going to be a long, content-free winter if George R.R. Martin doesn’t get on it and PUBLISH THE DARNED BOOK. George, you cruel master!
If that doesn’t happen, we can at least soothe our wounded hearts by re-reading Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” which turns 200 next year.
14. Flights to Antarctica
Prior to 2018, in order to fly to Antarctica you either had to be a paying customer on a chartered flight or an extremely misdirected bird. Starting next year, the first EVER commercial flights will head out from the southernmost part of Argentina, and drop you at an Argentinian base on Seymour Island near the Antarctic peninsula. It’s good news for penguins — with the expected tourist boom, their property values are gonna go way up.
15. A time capsule opening
The Helium Time Columns Monument in Amarillo, Texas, is a neat structure that not only commemorates the discovery of helium, it also serves as an extremely fancy version of a time-honored middle school tradition: The time capsule. When the monument was erected in 1968, a few time capsules were placed inside to be opened at 25, 50, 100 and 1,000 years. So, obviously, in 2018, the 50-year capsule will be opened, and we can all ponder the last half-century of progress with an equal mix of awe and regret.
16. A Titanic diving trip
Most people find the Titanic disaster at least marginally interesting, but if you’re one of the special few who’re really, REALLY into its history and lore (and you’re super rich), this news is for you. Starting in May 2018, super fans will get an opportunity to take diving trips to the wreck site. Sure, the underwater postmortem will set you back more than $100,000, but travel company Blue Marble Private says the price tag is actually equivalent, after inflation, to what first class Titanic passengers paid for their tickets way back in 1912. Cool! A little morbid, but cool!
17. ESports take a world stage
For the uninitiated, “ESports” is the sexy term for what is essentially competitive video gaming and yes, it’s an increasingly popular and well-respected thing. In fact, next year ESports will debut at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta. The Asian Games are touted as the “biggest multi-sport games after the Olympic Games,” so safe to say, the inclusion of button-mashing and screen-staring is a huge step for this burgeoning movement.
18. Historical anniversaries
Lastly, let us mark our tenuous, yet immortal hope for the future by looking back at the past. 2018 will mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. It will also mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1968.
So that’s your goal for next year — do something in 2018 that our ancestors will observe fondly every decade or century for ages to come.
The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.