17 Reasons to Look Forward to 2017

As I often do before I write anything, I asked my Facebook friends some of their suggestions on the topic at hand. I should've known better this time. Because when I posed the question, "What are some of your reasons to look forward to 2017?" I received responses like, "The apocalypse" and "Trump's impeachment."

I digress.

Rest assured, however, that I didn't take their advice. Instead, I'm including only positive entries, devoid of partisan politics, because that's what we all need right now — hope, happiness, and the pursuit of anything that isn't 2016. Yep, it was a terrible year by most accounts, but it's almost out of here. So let's rejoice and look to the future. Here are some awesome things to get excited about in 2017. (See also: 8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master)

1. It's Not an Election Year!

I don't know about you, but I was tired of hearing about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump around March. Of course, the vitriol surrounding the election didn't get much better as the months passed — or even after Trump was elected. In fact, it seemed to get worse. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, though, that people on social media have expunged all the frustration sufficiently over the past two months, and are now committed to concentrating on more important things next year. If not, I think I'll have to hit the block button.

2. Lots of New Movies and Music

Each New Year brings 12 months of new-release movies and music. What are you looking forward to this year? Personally, I'm ramped up about AMC Theatres' Best Picture Showcase in February, a two-day event that I've attended the past several years to watch all of the Oscar-nominated films back to back before the Oscars. I purposefully avoid any film that has Oscar buzz so I can enjoy the fest in its entirety. I highly recommend checking it out. Looking ahead, I'm lining up for sure-to-be blockbuster films like The LEGO Batman Movie, Alien: Covenant, and Baywatch, along with some of the sleeper hits that will inevitably go viral. As for music, I'm preparing my iTunes for album releases by Tinie Tempah, Fergie, Iggy Azalea, Major Lazer, and more.

3. Paying Down Your Debt

Have you been paying your debt down consistently to a more manageable amount in 2016? Make this the year that you completely obliterate it. If you've been putting it off, attack it aggressively to unburden yourself. You'll be thankful you did. (See also: 5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Debt)

4. More Affordable Taxes

President-Elect Trump's tax plan gives most Americans a break on what they're currently paying, according to Fortune. His simplified tax code turns seven brackets into three and raises the threshold at which workers begin to pay income tax. In addition, many married couples will see their taxes reduced substantially. Something to look forward to if the new tax code falls in your favor.

5. The Release of the 10th Anniversary iPhone

Can you believe it's been nearly a decade since the iPhone single-handedly revolutionized the way we use mobile devices? For its 10th anniversary, expect a big reveal and, likely, a completely new design. Rumored features include a glass body, edge-to-edge OLED display with an integrated Touch ID fingerprint sensor, plus a game changer or two, like wireless charging.

6. Summertime

I live by the beach, and my favorite season is summer. I love everything about it — exercising outside, walking the boardwalk, visiting amusement parks, grilling in the backyard. I'm getting excited just thinking about it! Have you started thinking of your summer plans yet? If you plan to travel, winter is a great time to score deals on future getaways.

7. The World Expo

After taking a couple years off, World Expo 2017 will commence on June 10 in Astana, Kazakhstan, with the theme "Energy of the Future." Thus far, 101 countries are participating.

8. A Total Solar Eclipse

A total solar eclipse will take place on Monday, Aug. 21. It will be the first solar eclipse visible from the United States since July 11, 1991, which was seen only from part of Hawaii. The longest duration of the eclipse will be two minutes 41.6 seconds, with the best viewing in Carbondale, Illinois. Just don't look directly at it, okay?

9. Your Vacation

Do you have a vacay on the books? Start planning where you'll stay and all the fun activities you want to do. It takes me hours and hours of planning to create an amazing vacation. I'm big on activities to create memories, and I like to compare prices and search for discounts to get the best deals. Happy hunting!

10. Making at Least One New Friend

I make several new friends a year — I actually set it as a goal — because I like to keep my social life active and interesting. Broaden your horizons by joining a social sports group, signing up for fitness classes, taking an art or music lesson, or becoming a member of a group that interests you.

11. Learning Something New

I'm sure you'll learn plenty of new things this year, but you have to make a conscious effort to learn anything important, like a new skill or a more efficient way to do something that takes up time or money. Decide what you want to learn and make it happen.

12. The First Human Head Transplant

Despite how you may feel about it, the first human head transplant will likely be performed this year. Italian neuroscientist Dr. Sergio Canavero and Chinese surgeon Dr. Xiaoping Ren are expected to remove the head of a Russian man named Valery Spiridonov who suffers from Werdnig-Hoffman Disease, and reattach it to a donor body. The procedure is dogged by controversy, but if it's a success, it will go down in history as the most important medical advancement thus far.

13. Stranger Things Season 2 Is Coming

If you were a fan of the Duffer Brothers' love-letter supernatural series to the 1980s, you'll be happy to know that a nine-episode second season of Stranger Things will be released on Netflix in 2017. The new narrative will take place about a year after the first season's events and will explore the "bigger mythology" of Will's disappearance.

14. Carving Out More "Me" Time

Seriously, give yourself a break. See more movies by yourself, take a nap every once in awhile, go grab a cup of coffee, and read a book or magazine in the café. Just love yourself more often. You deserve it.

15. Adding a New Revenue Source to Your Income

I live by the philosophy that you should always have two sources of income. I truly believe it's the only way you'll get ahead in life, especially if you like to do things like go out to dinner or on vacation. In addition to a full-time career, I supplement my income by watching other people's pets via DogVacay, renting out my homes on Airbnb, and driving people around town with Uber and Lyft. There are many, many ways that are not limited to my suggestions that you can put more money in the bank this year.

16. Finding Joy

We live in a world of negativity, it seems. Everywhere we turn, it's bad news. But that's perhaps because we're actually looking for the bad news, like on social media where all people seem to do is complain about things they can't change and otherwise lament their lives. Shun that mentality this year and find joy for yourself. Maybe that means taking a social media hiatus, but do whatever you've got to do. There's still happiness left in the world, if you know where to look.

17. Committing to a Healthy and Productive Lifestyle

Go to bed early and wake up earlier. Stay on track with your fitness. Drink water and eat healthy. Do these three things for yourself and I promise you that so many other things will start to fall into place. Just stick to it and you'll see the results. I promise.

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Ian Bond

So much to be grateful for, yet so much to look forward to!

Thanks for the inspiration to do both.

Here's to an awesome '17!