Jobseekers attend a career fair at Bronx Community College in the Bronx borough of New York City on December 19, 2023. | Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg/Getty Images
(CNN) — Hope springs eternal, and for many of us, 2024 is a new dawn. We may have limited time before the bloom of the new year fades and we’re left to confront our untended bad habits and the horrors of the world, so let’s make the most of this fleeting moment of optimism.
There are plenty of things to look forward to in 2024. Here are just 24 of them.
1. A leap year
Every four years, the Gregorian calendar adjusts itself to accommodate for the slight discrepancy between our earthly patterns and the cycle of celestial events. In short, February 29th babies, it’s your time to shine! For everyone else, it’s one extra day to enjoy being alive.
2. The Olympics and Paralympics
Yes, your intuition is correct. Leap years also happen to coincide with two important events boasting wildly different enjoyment levels*. One is the Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games, held this year in Paris. Breaking, or breakdancing, will debut as a sport this year, and it will be the first time that male and female Olympics athletes will be represented in equal numbers.
*The other is the US Presidential election, which we can probably all agree would be significantly more fun with some breakdancing and gender parity.
3. New movies
When nothing else seems to be going according to plan, we can always rely on the magic of cinema. (Assuming there’s no strike. Or pandemic. Or tussles between streaming giants.) 2024 will bring highly anticipated releases like:
“Mean Girls: The Musical” on Jan. 12
“Dune: Part Two” on March 1
“Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” on May 24
“Inside Out 2 “ on June 14
“Wicked Part 1” on November 27
4. A total solar eclipse
A total solar eclipse is seen on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 above Madras, Oregon. | Aubrey Gemignani/NASA
Parts of Mexico, the United States and Canada will be treated to a total solar eclipse on April 8. If you’ll recall from the eclipse madness of 2017, total solar eclipses occur when the moon passes between Earth and the sun, completely blocking the sun’s face. Skygazers outside of the eclipse’s direct path will be able to see a partial solar eclipse, which is still very cool.
This will mark the last time the path of a total solar eclipse crosses over the U.S. until 2044.
5. A return to the moon
In other fun moon happenings, NASA’s Artemis II mission will return humans to the moon’s orbit for the first time since the end of the Apollo program in 1972. Four astronauts will venture to the surface of the moon, including the first Black astronaut and the first woman astronaut to do so. They’ll join an elite club of just 12 people to have walked on lunar ground.
NASA says the mission takes humans a step further to establishing a long-term presence on the moon, and will test other capabilities and mechanisms. The launch is set for November, and you can bet everyone will be humming with excitement about it.
6. New TV and old favorites
For those of us not going to the moon, a slew of new and returning shows is a decent consolation. New offerings include:
“Mr. and Mrs. Smith” on Amazon Prime, which promises to stretch the 2005 Brangelina movie’s sexy and violent vibe into a serialized storyline.
“Avatar: The Last Airbender” on Netflix, a live-action remake of the beloved animated series.
“Shōgun” on FX/Hulu, a drama set in feudal Japan that brings to life James Clavell’s iconic 1975 novel.
“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight” on Max, another “Game of Thrones” prequel that’s sure to rope in GoT fans whether they like it or not.
We’ll also be reunited with returning favorites:
“Bridgerton” will return for Season 3 on Netflix (Polin rises!).
“House of the Dragon” will fly back to HBO for a second fiery season.
“The Bear” will cook up its third season on FX/Hulu.
“Curb Your Enthusiasm” will return for a 12th and final season on Max.
Got all that? Go get a pen! This is what your shiny new 2024 planner is for.
7. Mickey goes public (sorta)
Another year means another trove of copyrighted works entering the public domain, which means way more freedom to use, share and mash them up. This year’s public domain newbies come from the 1920s. The long-anticipated star of the show is “Steamboat Willie,” the 1928 Disney film that introduced Mickey and Minnie Mouse — or at least an early version of them.
Other arrivals include “Peter Pan,” the novel by J.M. Barrie, and “The House at Pooh Corner” by A.A. Milne, which introduces the bouncey, trouncey, ouncey, pouncey character of Tigger. For more mature audiences, there’s “Lady Chatterly’s Lover,” by DH Lawrence.
Songs entering the public domain include “Mack the Knife,” “I Wanna Be Loved By You” and Cole Porter’s “Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love)” — perhaps the only love song in history to mention fleas.
8. Facebook turns 20
Yep, Mark Zuckerberg and some Harvard classmates launched their social game-changer, then called TheFacebook, in February 2004. In addition to making any adult feel about 5,000 years old, the 20th anniversary of the granddaddy of social networking sites (sorry, MySpace) will also merit a docuseries from the BBC. Just in case you need MORE Facebook in your life.
9. A new college football playoff picture
This one is legitimately exciting for college football fans. The 2024 season will culminate in a new, 12-team playoff — a big upgrade from the current four-team structure that causes so much strife and argument every year. Moving forward, the highest-ranked conference champions will get a playoff bid, as will the six remaining top-ranked teams.
Surely everyone will agree on this new format and no one will feel slighted and the vast network of conferences and contenders will be whittled down to a satisfying few! No, the actual playoff games won’t happen until January 2025, but this is all the college football world will be talking about from the first kickoff.
10. New music
2024 will bring a fresh crop of music to our ears, including “This is Me … Now,” Jennifer Lopez’s first studio album in more than 20 years. Speaking of icons, Green Day will release their 14th studio album, “Savior.” We can also expect new music from Usher, Cardi B., Dua Lipa and more.
11. New tours
It seems like everyone and their mother will be on the road in 2024 — including, yes, Taylor Swift, who will play Asia and Europe next spring and summer before returning to North America for more shows in the fall.
Want a throwback? Billy Joel, Stevie Nicks, blink-182, and Bruce Springsteen are all touring. Then, we have some country giants: George Strait and Chris Stapleton are hitting the stage together, which should be a hit. Lainey Wilson will begin her much anticipated “Country’s Cool Again” tour. Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean and other big names in country round out the list.
But if you really want to be blasted back to the 90s, Creed is headlining not one, but two cruises for their “Summer of ‘99” tour. Obviously, they’re sold out. But you can be there in spirit.
12. More historical anniversaries
Once you’re done processing 20 years of Facebook, you can start contemplating 30 — yes, THIRTY — years of Amazon. The company was founded in 1994 under the name “Cadabra.” 2024 also marks the 60th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, the 100th anniversary of the Winter Olympics and the 135th anniversary of the opening of the Eiffel Tower.
13. New books
As if we needed any more titles on our “To Be Read” list, 2024 will bring new releases from literary stars like “Crazy Rich Asians” author Kevin Kwan, who takes us back into the lives of Asia’s uber-wealthy with “Lies and Weddings.”
And fans of fantasy author Sarah J. Maas will be counting down the days for “House of Flame and Shadow,” the third book in her “Crescent City” series.
Obviously, we could spend all day talking about upcoming books, so here are some lists for fantasy lovers, romance lovers and memoir enthusiasts (including one coming from Crystal Hefner about her time as Hugh Hefner’s wife.)
14. A new capital city for Indonesia
Congestion, overpopulation and climate change concerns led to Indonesia’s decision to move its capital city from flood-prone Jakarta — which is sinking into the sea — to a jungle-covered area on Borneo Island.
The new capital will be named Nusantara, or “archipelago” in the Indonesian language. While the whole process was started in 2019 and will take decades to complete (it is an entire city, home to tens of millions, after all), 2024 is when the official switch is expected to be made.
15. A new outlook on Catholic faith
2024 will conclude the Catholic Church’s three-year series of meetings called the “Synod of Synodality” (synodality is basically the Catholic leadership’s version of synergy). This is actually something to pay attention to, because the assembly has been discussing big issues like the role of women in church leadership and the blessing of same-sex marriages.
The assembly was requested by Pope Francis, who is seen as a liberal leader for one of the world’s biggest religions.
16. More (useful) artificial intelligence
We already know artificial intelligence can produce horrible music, uncanny valley art and cursed crochet projects, but can it do things that are, you know, useful to everyday people? Experts say AI will be the biggest tech trend for 2024, but the big question is how companies, inventors and researchers will use the technology.
Predictions include next-level AI assistants that could surpass Siri or Alexa, AI powered investing tools, real-time language translation and streamlined software development.
17. New video games
Gamers in 2024 will have a hard time choosing which new releases to immerse themselves in. The new “Final Fantasy” installation, “Final Fantasy VII Rebirth,” is bound to be near the top of the list.
Digital Trends also highlights an interesting new facet of gaming: the interactive documentary. “Llamasoft: The Jeff Minter Story” will explore this medium by taking players through 40 games by famous developer Jeff Minter, while preserving the history and lore of the pixelated originals.
18. A historic election — in Mexico
It’s not a partisan thing to say presidential elections are exhausting, stressful and not something to look forward to with joy. The 2024 campaign in the U.S. doesn’t seem to have many voters excited.
But there’s an interesting election happening next door in Mexico, where two women are running against each other to be the country’s next president — a historic first.
The establishment candidate, Claudia Sheinbaum, is the former mayor of Mexico City and is seen as an ideological successor to Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Mexico’s current president. Xóchitl Gálvez, her insurgent opponent, is an engineer with a rural background and is pushing Mexico to invest in renewable energy.
19. Amazing art
The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Musée d’Orsay in Paris are collaborating on a must-see extravaganza in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the first Impressionist art exhibition. “Paris 1874: The Impressionist Movement” will be staged in both museums and will feature 130 works from greats like Renoir, Monet and Degas. Organizers of the dual event say it was designed to closely reference that historic 19th-century exhibit.
20. Malaria breakthroughs
A new antimalarial vaccine is expected to be distributed to several African countries in 2024, bringing a new weapon in the fight against a disease that kills hundreds of thousands on the continent every year. The R21/Matrix-M vaccine is the second malarial vaccine recommended by the World Health Organization, and has a higher efficacy than the first one.
21. Mosquitoes that are actually helpful
Another big public health breakthrough could be coming to Brazil, where the non-profit World Mosquito Program will start a ten-year program to release modified mosquitoes into the country’s urban areas. These mosquitoes carry a bacteria that stops them from transmitting viruses. Over time, this could save millions of people from deadly preventable diseases like dengue.
22. Pandemic progress
Experts predict 2024 won’t bring much normalcy when it comes to Covid cases and new variants, but there is good news, too. Researchers could get closer to cracking the code of long Covid, and we’ll likely see new vaccines emerge. We also could see a new vaccine that combines flu and Covid protection in one jab.
23. A better job market
A positive economic prediction? Now there’s something new. Slowing inflation and a good outlook for the stock market have led some economic experts to predict a better job market in 2024. The thinking is that these and other positive signifiers will increase confidence and investments, which could lead to much-needed job opportunities.
24. A new day
Sure, it’s just a flip of the calendar. And 2024 will no doubt have its share of bad news. But a new year brings a psychological clean slate.
Maybe it’ll serve as a reminder that, while we can’t control the coming and goings of the ages, we do have at least a little control over our own happiness. We are more resilient than we think, and no matter what 2024 brings, we’ll face it together.
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