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With all of the setbacks and hardships of 2020, it’s hard not to have high expectations for 2021. As the most-anticipated year in modern history takes shape, here are things that are keeping us optimistic.

Colors of the Year:

Ultimate Gray: represents the practical, resilient mindset cultivated during the pandemic

Illuminating: conveys a sunshiny optimism for a bright future

Year of the Ox:

According to the Chinese calendar, Feb. 12 began Year of the Ox, a strong, resilient animal that represents hard work, diligence, and positivity.

Stress Baking:

Now that you’ve spent 2020 mastering bread making, it’s time to start fresh pasta. No yeast? No problem. Eggs, flour, and patience is all you need.

Getting super-serious about a potential love interest really quickly because the world is coming to an end is so 2020.

“Lodating”—dating locally

“Slow dating”—taking time to get to know someone, thinking more about the relationship

“Astrolove”—considering compatibility according to zodiac signs

“Hardballing”—knowing what you want and not accepting anything less

Green Thumbs:

The “quarantine gardens” of 2020 are now fueling canning, preserving, pickling, and fermenting as people look to do more with
their homegrown goods and take their skills to the next level.

Dr. Zoom Will See You Now:

Telehealth skyrocketed in 2020—in late March 2020 it was up 145% from the previous year. As doctors discovered that some appointments can be done effectively from behind a screen, virtual visits will continue to trend up in the health care industry.

Let Them Eat Cupcake:

It’s hard to imagine ever resuming the tradition of blowing out birthday candles on a cake to share.

Flexibility Rules

With Work: Video conferences enabled us to demonstrate how we can stay connected and work effectively from afar (in PJs). Flexibility in work schedules, locations, and dress code is expected to be here to stay.

With Travel: After two-thirds of travelers had to cancel a trip due to COVID, travelers in 2021 will want reassurance they can change plans with no penalty. Airlines, hotels, and travel companies are responding with fully flexible offers.

With School: Online technology adopted by teachers and students out of necessity in 2020 will remain part of educational life. Even after in-person classrooms resume, schools will likely want to keep their online footprint. Plus, educators now recognize the opportunities in hosting virtual events and office hours that extend accessibility.

Travel Trends

Pet-Friendly: Dog adoptions thrived in 2020. New pet owners will be eager for travel experiences to share with their new companions.

MultiGenerational: After months of not being able to gather for holiday meals or life’s celebrations, opportunities to travel with extended family are bound to be big.

RV Road Trips: The RV rental industry experienced an economic boom in 2020. People still feeling cautious about air travel and hotel stays in 2021 are expected to keep this going: A survey found 73% of millennial respondents planned to rent an RV in 2021, followed by Generation X at 59%, and baby boomers at 47%.