My Top 10 Predictions for 2013

Once, more than 20 years ago, there was a coworker who didn’t like me. Someone from HR had to intervene, and she asked the coworker if she could find some things that she did like about me. She thought and thought and finally said, “Not really.” Ouch, that hurt. But then she did add this: “Well, she is good at predicting trends.” Well, that was something!

Since then, I’ve continued to predict trends for myself and express them primarily by saying “I knew that was going to happen!” after the fact. But this time I’m going to commit them to paper. Since it’s my first time, I’m not really making any promises. My methodology includes exposure to multiple sources of information and expertise, observing people in many different places, and most important, a feeling I get in my gut, a kind of craving.

  1. The return of paper. A friend of mine was telling me that his son loves to get mail. “Real mail,” he said. My response? “Who doesn’t?!” Email is awesome, and tablets and e-readers are great, but there is something sensual, tactile, and visually and emotionally thrilling about getting something that you can save and look back on and touch, share, and even smell. I see it with my own kids, no matter how many devices they have. Trees, after all, are a renewable, organic resource. Paper is due for a comeback.
  2. The desire to disconnect from devices will increase. I remember when I was a young mom and I would be somewhere and think, “No one knows where I am; how will they find me if my child needs me?” That was scary, and cellphones solved that problem. But now, it’s a bit of a thrill to be where no one can find me. My teenager is a member of the first generation that has never had that feeling (except, perhaps, at summer camp). And it feels like it’s time: People are going to want to reestablish their freedom from devices. To experience the thrill of living in a singular moment.
  3. Emotional healing takes a place at the table. While for hundreds of years, doctors have scoffed at the role emotions play in health (except when it came to diagnosing “hysteria” in women—which did turn out to have a physical cause: sexual frustration!!!) I am seeing more and more studies that connect illnesses with emotional issues. And while most doctors have been ignoring that side of it, millions of people are solving their own health issues through information from publishers like Hay House. With the rise of what are clearly emotionally conflicted acts of violence in our society, I believe this is an area that will finally get more legitimate study and—hopefully, action.
  4. More women will ride bikes of all types. Cycling has been primarily the domain of guys…gear-head guys. But that exclusivity is going to fall, just the way male domination has fallen everywhere else. And when it does, the sport will be transformed. There will be more diversity of styles and types of bikes and gear (and outfits!). The sport will get simpler and easier to navigate, and it will be more fun.
  5. A return to cooking from scratch, especially with kids. This trend, while already started, will be turbo-charged by the upcoming Michael Pollan book called Cooked. I’m only a little ways into it, but I can tell it’s just going to rock everyone’s world about the importance of cooking. And since many grown-ups never learned how, it might be easier just to start with the kids and bring the subject back to schools—like I learned how to make cinnamon rolls in junior high Home Economics class.
  6. People will begin to recognize the health benefits or detriments of their entertainment choices. The connection with violence on television has been shown over and over again, but for the first time I’ve seen a study confirm what I suspected: that reading can be good for your health. A Michigan State University release (14 Sept. 2012) summarized the finding: “As part of an ongoing study of reading and distraction Michigan State University English professor Natalie Phillips teamed up with brain scientists and ran MRI brain scans of 18 students while they read a classic work by Jane Austen. To the researchers’ surprise, not only did the areas responsible for “executive function” light up to show increased blood flow and activity, many other areas of the subjects’ brains also lit up. Reading, at least reading complex books that contain many levels of meaning, may offer benefits far beyond just pleasurable distraction.” Notice they chose to read Jane Austen, the first official romance writer! More studies to come, I’m sure!

  7. Exercise will trump food for health and longevity. Again, study after study is showing that when it comes to being healthy and living a long life, regular exercise is much more important than food. And it’s all types of exercise—exercise as play, as transportation, as sport…but not TOO MUCH sport. Overexercising actually can reduce the benefit. Short bursts and intervals are also sometimes shown to be even better than long, continuous exercise. Another new trend in exercise and health is whole-body vibrations. Seriously, I am seeing tons of research showing it really works. That’s a piece of exercise equipment that sounds fun!

  8. We will begin to redefine the ideal body weight. A recent macro study of all major studies done shows something I’ve seen over and over again but that is highly contradictory to what we tell people in the doctor’s office and in the media: SLIGHTLY overweight people live longer than perfectly thin people. We are not talking about obesity here. We are talking about people with a bit of extra padding, which apparently can come in handy sometimes!

  9. Baby Boomers will redefine aging. No surprise here. They’ve redefined every other phase of life they’ve traversed through. Expect in the next 10 to 20 years to see a total redefinition of “assisted living” housing. It will be like a boutique hotel, but with better lighting. More like spas.

  10. The world will continue to warm. Another no-brainer. But with each year that the thermometer goes up, that’s one more year that a) deniers can’t deny as much and b) we either get closer to action or annihilation. I vote for action, of course.

And as for color predictions…I know the people who study these things say emerald green. And I’ve seen other fashion-forward people voting for bright yellow and orange, but my craving is for powder blue. Milky powder blue. The color of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland! The color of my first VW bug.  A faded chambray.

Those are my predictions, and I’m sticking to them.

Photo credit: vestman


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17 Responses to My Top 10 Predictions for 2013

  1. Nikki Lindqvist January 9, 2013 at 7:09 am #

    Oh, I LOVED the Blue Lagoon in Iceland! Special! Fun!

    I’m a bit concerned about 9. I agree it’s probably heading that way but… who can afford to LIVE there?

  2. maria (farm country kitchen) January 9, 2013 at 9:11 am #

    Maybe people will both live and WORK there. Because people will want to keep working a bit as they age, so maybe it will include a barter system. Will work for food!

  3. Peter January 9, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    I enjoyed and looked forward to each of these predictions coming true…until I got to the last one, and saw it all growing a little crispy, including the pages of those books and magazines we’ll be reading ON PAPER. Which reminds me: My wife and I are devoted readers of the New York Times–me on tablet, her on paper. At least, I used to read it on my tablet until I realized that she was getting a lot more out of the Times than I was. The reason: The act of physically flipping pages meant she was exposed to many more headlines and many more serendipitous discoveries than I was on my tablet. So I slinked back to the paper version, and realized something important: Paper works, because it’s all there in front of you. So I’m wondering: Can I receive a paper version of your blog?

  4. maria (farm country kitchen) January 9, 2013 at 9:50 am #

    Hmmmm. That’s an interesting idea, Peter! I will consider it. Would you PAY for it???? (right now I do this for free).

    I agree with you on going through the paper version of newspapers and magazines….we learn so much more because we see things we aren’t just choosing to see.

  5. Irma January 9, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    I’ve been thinking a lot about re-defining age. Turning 60 opened up a new identity to senior-ship while gleaming into the cosmic joke, so to speak (so important to laugh at life and myself).

    The Fellowship Community in Rockland County, NY has a model I’d love to re-create someplace.

    It’s all about bringing the sage and wisdom gained from living.
    Based on Rudolf Steiner’s philosophy, this facility redefines aging.

  6. Dana B January 9, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    What fun post! I love this. I think most of your predictions are spot on.

  7. Debbie January 9, 2013 at 11:35 am #

    Where do I sign up to be part of new “assisted living” community? Sounds blissful and so spot on! I would also like to see this community be run such that you can “transfer” between locations (summer in New Hampshire and winter in Arizona). I’m talking boutique chains “assisted living.”

  8. Adam Kutner January 9, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    Great predictions, some bold. Had an old philosophy professor who once told me that in today’s society he could raise a strong human being by overstimulating a child into hating TV and technology…maybe that’s where we are now as a society, about to swing back the other way.

  9. Toni January 9, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

    Hope you are right about paper returning. I still love to hold a book and read it and then place it amongst my collection.

  10. Donna in Delaware January 9, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

    There’s no frigate like a book!

  11. Neill, Northport, NY January 9, 2013 at 11:16 pm #

    Maria you are so right on the food and cooking issues. I am looking forward to Michael Pollan’s new book. I do hope people will reconnect with the food they eat sooner than later. The food/agricultural industrial complex is gaining on us.

    I hope you are wrong on the paper issue. I feel quite guilty buying the the Sunday New York Times, reading only half of it and recycling all of it. I love my digital subscriptions to the NY Times.

    Although, electronic devices have become leashes to our work life and replaced so much of genuine face to face socialization. I hope the trend towards device-less nights, weekends and vacations continues. Although I doubt it will improve (cynical me). They are all part of our increasingly urban nature-less lives. Read about Nature Deficit Disorder in the Richard Louv book, Last Child in the Woods. Nature Deficit Disorder is the single most important environmental issue, the more people are disconnected from nature, the less they care about environmental/ecological principles in daily life.

    Anyway keep prognosticating, I love to hear and read you.

    – Neill

  12. Jodi Pollock January 9, 2013 at 11:47 pm #

    Oh Maria, There is no way that we are going back to paper! You gave Peter the number one reason. We are not going to pay for it. I can’t wait to rid of all the junk mail advertising! I love hitting the delete button on the junk Emails. I do miss my newspaper weed and grass killer.

  13. MEL January 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

    One area I think that needs to be addressed currently and in the future is affordable housing, especially for our rapidly aging population. Boutiques and spas are nice thoughts, but I have found that even plain vanilla senior living complexes cost the earth.
    When we speak of ‘affordable housing’ in this country, we only seem to focus on the lowest income tier such as those on public assistance and SNAP or the disabled. Especially in the current economic climate, how about affordable, sustainable housing for the regular working and middle class? It’s time we get real. Most of us didn’t have executive careers or make a fortune in the market. Housing that costs in the multi 100K range just ain’t affordable in the long run.

  14. Bill Fargo January 14, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    I used to think that Rodale would never publish propaganda, but the lies being propagated about the safety of vaccines and human causation of global warming has changed my beliefs.

  15. Nikki Lindqvist January 15, 2013 at 3:51 am #

    Well said, Mel.

  16. Donna in Delaware January 16, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

    Touche Mel.

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