Born in 2018: These 6 Things Didn’t Exist a Year Ago, but Now I Can’t Live Without Them

Photo: Getty Images/Adam Hester
Over the past couple of years, everyone I know has become fond of saying that every month feels like a year, and every year feels like a decade. (I know, the math is weird—but it feels accurate, right?) Mostly that's due to huge events beyond our control sending a steady drumbeat of traumatic shocks to the system, like mass shootings, humanitarian crises, political turmoil, and those celebrity deaths that hit you harder than you expect them to (RIP Anthony and Aretha).

But sometimes, in this era of elastic time, you look back and realize that some good things have come along—and it's hard to imagine a time when they didn't exist. So here's a (very subjective) list of all the things I can't believe we survived without, pre-2018. And here's to a new year, and all the "wow, we needed that" delights that we'll enjoy next year.

Keep reading for the born-in-2018 highlights that made my life a little bit less stressful, more joyful, and overall healthier this year.

best new wellness things
Photo: Getty Images/Nathan Congleton/NBC

Nailed It!

As therapeutic Netflix time goes, it's hard to beat watching comedian Nicole Byer and chef Jacques Torres banter. Byer is one of the funniest comics working anywhere, and her French chocolatier co-host's "Nee-cole" refrain is like aural Prozac to me. And then there are the contestants: Think of it like the American answer to The Great British Baking Show, with way less expertise and way more laughs. While GBBO is famously humanistic, with bakers hugging each other and tearily saying goodbye to their fellow fastidious competitors, Nailed It! celebrates a more relatable moment: when you are in way over your head but you give it your best shot, anyway. Failure has never been more fun—and Nailed It! is an underachieving tonic for our anxious times. Plus, I guarantee, whatever you screwed up during the week, you didn't come up this short.

Cauliflower tots

If the word "cauliflower" means something to you, it's probably because you're conscious of how many starches you're eating—and when cauli rice and cauli pizza crusts came around, your carb-avoiding heart skipped a beat. (Same.) Or maybe you're all about the cruciferous veggie's low-sugar benefits as a banana replacement in your smoothie. Now with cauliflower tots, the nutrient-dense carb replacement comes in a snackable form on its own, no pizza toppings or smoothie ingredients to add. Another bonus: Feeling like you're in elementary school again.

at home workout equipment
Photo: Mirror

The Mirror

Right now, my mood is all about simplifying, rethinking routines, and finding options that make life easier. Maybe I want to do all my workouts at home, where no one will know I've worn the same leggings three times in a row? (Theoretically.) The downside: I do not have a "home gym" or even that exotic thing called a "spare corner." But The Mirror fits right in at my keeping-it-Kondo apartment, since the high-tech fitness equipment (where you can interact with your trainer and watch your form, just like in dance class) takes up zero floor space. Full disclosure: I have not purchased a Mirror. Yet. But I love living in a world where it now exists.

The Armchair Expert podcast

You might know Dax Shepard as Crosby on Parenthood—or half of one of Hollywood's most Insta-adorable couples, with Kristen Bell—but when Armchair Expert launched in the spring, it became apparent who he really is: a glowing ball of non-toxic masculine energy who is perfectly matched to our times. Think of him as a bridge for all the bros: He's navigating the fraught cultural waters (including racial, sexual, and gender dynamics) not by leading the way, but by asking directions. He wears his midwestern dude-ness effortlessly—waxing nostalgic about doing donuts in the parking lot—but he's also deeply introspective about relationships (there are multiple Bell interviews, as well as a startlingly honest episode with his mom) and his sobriety. (If you're a Brené Brown fan, definitely start with that interview.) And best of all, Shepard's co-host, Monica Padman, does something no other podcast bothers to do: fact-checks the interviews! Be still my journalistic heart.

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get a new outfit they said, it’ll fit fine they said.

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@RealQaiQai on Instagram

How much do you love Serena Williams and baby Olympia? Well, get ready for your heart to grow three more sizes, Grinch style, when you see Olympia's baby, a doll named Qai Qai that (of course) has her own Instagram. And after that all-about-the-love moment passes, prepare for some serious shade, since the posts are written from Qai Qai's semi-bitter perspective—since she's always not quite getting Olympia's attention. Or she's getting dropped on her head. Or she's getting passed over for the dog. As brain-resetting, lol-inducing Instagram diversions go, Qai Qai is the gift that keeps on giving.

The word "orbiting"

Obviously, I'm not a fan of the concept—which is when someone ghosts you but keeps you in their orbit, continuing to watch your Instagram stories and favorite your tweets. But! If there's power in "naming it to claim it," this is undeniably the word of the year when it comes to relationships. How else to describe the existential Groundhog Day-ness of modern dating, with the same people cycling in and out, on a loop? At least now you have a shorthand when you talk about it with your therapist—to map a path out of the orbit and into a completely new dating universe for 2019.

What do we have to look forward to in the new year? We're predicting big things for these 14 trends—and here's what astrologer Susan Miller says is in store for love, career, and more

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