I always imagined that by 2014, we would be zooming through the air on hovercrafts, like in "The Jetsons."
Though we can't expect that to happen anytime soon, the year was filled with international excitement, nonetheless.
From an awkward video of “Strangers Kissing for the First Time” to the seemingly endless fight for gender equality, the world did a lot of good and a lot of bad in the past year.
History is important because it serves as a way for us to avoid making the same mistakes twice. Here is what our recent history should teach us as we head into 2015:
We’re still learning how to help each other out.
The Ebola epidemic caused distress for all global organizations we have created to deal with situations like this. No government could adequately respond, the UN didn’t know what to do and the World Health Organization was at a loss.
But, despite the lack of understanding, there are still people all over the world who risked their lives to help those touched by the disease.
There is no use in placing blame, but we should continue to work together as a global, united force to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.
We should have Winter Olympics someplace that has a winter.
Sochi 2014 was as good as any other Olympics, with the world watching all of our most elite athletes compete against each other in Russia.
It’s safe to say, though, that it can be pretty difficult to ski when the snow is melting. Shouldn’t we host the Winter Olympics somewhere without palm trees?
Mental health issues are demanding more of our attention.
Luka Magnotta’s lawyer claims his client cannot be “criminally responsible” for the murder and dismemberment of Jun Lin because he is schizophrenic.
Robin Williams, a beloved comedian, actor and philanthropist, struggled with depression for his entire life. Despite his global adoration, this disease took his life when he committed suicide in August.
Once-famous actress, Amanda Bynes has been in and out of psychiatric care for the entirety of this year. Her struggle with mental illness has been publicized through her Twitter account, and she has become the butt of many jokes.
In 2015, the world needs to make efforts to focus on the prevalence of mental illness, and that starts with empathy.
The strength of the Internet knows no boundaries.
Alex Lee was a simple 16-year-old living in Frisco, TX, who had just clocked in for his shift at Target. Within minutes, his life changed when a girl snapped a picture of him and tweeted it with the caption, “YOOOO.”
Just like that, #AlexFromTarget was trending nationally because... he looked cute in his Target uniform? We still aren’t sure, but he was on "Ellen" so #HeMadeIt.
Sexism is most definitely alive and well.
Despite all of our advances, you might be surprised to know we are not even close to gender equality.
A girl in New York City went viral after posting a video walking around the city to reveal all the verbal and sexual harassment she was subject to every day.
Jennifer Lawrence was among around 100 famous women, who were all subjected to global humiliation after hacker 4Chan leaked their naked pictures, sparking a controversial debate about privacy.
Heading into the New Year, we need to continue to back efforts like that of Emma Watson and #HeForShe.
Racism is also still kicking.
With the recent deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in Staten Island, many questions about racism and police brutality abound.
Are American police officers “gun-happy”? Is it the gun regulations that need to change, or is there still a clear and insurmountable barrier between white and black people in the United States?
No one seems to know the answer, but we all know one thing for sure: We have to keep talking about it.
Sexism, among other issues, is a work in progress.
Some things will take awhile to fix, but every effort counts. Emma Watson made international headlines after she addressed the UN with an inspirational speech about the solidarity movement for gender equality called #HeForShe.
FCKH8 is a popular t-shirt company that promotes pro-LGBT equality, anti-racism and anti-sexism, using clothing as “mini billboards” for change.
We must bow down to Taylor Swift, fame guru.
She blows our minds time and time again. She’s friends with all the biggest names, from Lorde to Kendall Jenner. She writes about heartbreak in a way that women 14 and 40 can understand. She still Instagrams her cat.
She’s the perfect mix of filthy famous and rather normal, and her album 1989 has held the top spot on the Billboard 200 Albums chart for weeks. The only other women who were up at the top longer were Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston.
Moral of the story: We have to keep working on those hovercrafts. But, in all seriousness, the world has taken so many steps forward, and we have to make sure we keep moving forward.
We need to use our experiences from 2014 and take what we've learned to combat whatever comes at us in 2015.