2021 did not fare that much better than 2020. 

Not with an insurrection, inflation, and an ongoing pandemic. In fact, a Fox Business survey of registered voters found that 70 percent think the year was an actual clunker for the country. 

But as the world soon enters a brand-new year, now is the perfect time to at least take a deep dive into some of the most memorable moments that summed up 2021. The moments that did not focus on grappling with a deadly virus or its aftermath. 

As 2021 went on, the world witnessed the U.S. stock market go into chaos, turning into enemy #1 of corporate hedge funds who significantly bet against vulnerable companies. Thanks to Reddit message boards and social media finfluencers, battered Game Stop became a powerful meme trade that led to the underdog scoring a major revival. 

Cryptocurrency also skyrocketed this year, including Dogecoin, the famous internet meme which soared to new heights in early 2021. The coin’s growth even exceeded that of Bitcoin thanks to tweets from Tesla founder Elon Musk. It also ironically sank because of tweets from Musk and because of comments he made during his iconic performance on “Saturday Night Live.”

As the stock market rallied and shares of Tesla continued to soar to new heights, Musk could surpass Amazon founder Jeff Bezos for the first time in becoming the world’s wealthiest person.

After decades of reigning Amazon, it was this year that Bezos finally stepped down from his role as CEO to focus more on space travel at his other company Blue Origin. In October, Bezos had successfully helped “Star Trek” actor William Shatner reach space as a passenger on the second flight of Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft.

The billionaire space race had a winner this year with Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson beating out Bezos and Musk when he reached space in Virgin Galactic’s Unity 22 on July 11th.

And speaking of space, this year the U.S. government finally admitted that there may actually be UFOs! The Office of the Director of National Intelligence dropped a long-awaited UFO report titled “Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.” The report essentially showed that many of the unidentified aerial phenomena analyzed remain just that: unidentified.

Other memorable events that went down throughout the year include Prince Harry and Meghan Markle abruptly leaving the throne and sitting down with Oprah to spill major tea about the royal family. The exclusive CBS interview has become the most searched ever in Google Trends history. 

And while Chloe Zhao made history at the 2021 Oscars, becoming the second female to win for best director, the #FreeBritney movement also saw victory as pop star Britney Spears won her freedom from a decade long conservatorship.

The world witnessed many romances and breakups among celebrities this year, but one of the most buzz worthy romances has been Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez making “Bennifer 2.0” happen. The couple reunited in May after leaving their respective partners and have been sizzling ever since. 

As these two celebrities rekindled, reality star Kim Kardashian and rapper Kanye West shockingly announced their divorce. Most recently Kim has been romantically linked to “Saturday Night Live” comedian Pete Davidson. Coincidingly, the “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” series also finished its last season after running for 20 seasons.

As that show came to an end, many highly anticipated reunions took place in 2021. It was in May that the cast of the iconic series “Friends” reunited for an HBO Max reunion that featured all the stars, including Jennifer Aniston. The cast sat around the original soundstage and talked about memories from the sitcom which ended roughly two decades ago. The show included special guest stars like pop singer Justin Bieber and talk show host James Corden.

It was also this year that three of the “Sex and the City” foursome took part in an HBO Max reunion with the reboot of “And Just Like That.” The sequel brought back all the New York City vibes and fashion and additionally revealed that “Carrie” has always been a nickname for another name. 

Like last year, many people were still stuck at home in 2021. Thankfully Korean Netflix sensation “Squid Games” helped many people survive the lockdowns. The dystopian drama has now become a part of mainstream culture and drew in a whopping 111 million fans in less than four weeks after its debut.

Netflix also released the highly awaited “Tiger King 2” documentary series in November. With 8 episodes, the show attempts to exploit the scandals that were revealed in the first season. 

The world of music also had its share of memorable moments, including hit singer the Weeknd declaring at the start of the year his future boycott of the Grammy awards. The “Blinding Lights” singer was snubbed at the awards ceremony with no nominations for his hit album “After Hours.” Both Adele and Taylor Swift also released blockbuster album releases this year, “30” and “Version” respectively. The two pop stars were even blamed for a worldwide vinyl shortage because of the massive demand for their albums.

Live concerts also emerged this year with music superstars BTS and Harry Styles who recently hit the road this fall. Both the Weeknd and Billie Eilish have concerts planned for 2022.

From NASA landing a rover on Mars again to Daniel Craig saying goodbye to the James Bond franchise, 2021 had a lot of memorable events.

2022 is less than a week away and it already brings a lot of promise to a post-pandemic world. Optimism is high as over 75% of people around the world think 2022 will be a better year than 2021, according to a new global survey. 

Ipsos asked over 22,000 adults in 33 countries to give their personal predictions for 2022 and found that three quarters (77%) expect a better year. 

The U.S. is still confronting the consequences of the pandemic, but 2022 offers a light at the end of the tunnel that many people are looking forward to.