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Half Of Americans Say 2021 Was The Worst Year Of Their Lives, Still Have High Hopes for 2022

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Half of Americans are calling 2021 the “worst year of their lives so far,” according to a new poll. 

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The survey of 1,000 adults — conducted by OnePoll on Dec. 13 — found that 53 percent said it had been a very unpleasant year for them. However, seven in 10 have high hopes that 2022 will be an improvement over the previous year. 

Millennials (ages 25 to 40) were the most dismissive of 2021, with 66 percent saying it was a tough year. Sixty-two percent of Gen Zers (ages 18 to 24) and 43 percent of Gen Xers (ages 41 to 56) also shared that 2021 wasn’t their best year, while 56 percent of boomers (ages 57+) disagreed entirely—only 22 percent either strongly or somewhat agreed it was the worst year of their lives.

When asked about their overall outlook on life, nearly eight in 10 of those surveyed (78 percent) described themselves as optimists. Meanwhile, 61 percent also identified as idealists, who “envision things as they could be,” while 19 percent preferred to be realists, who “see things as they are.”

Of those polled, male respondents considered themselves more optimistic (83 percent vs. 75 percent) and more idealistic (67 percent vs. 57 percent) than female respondents. Three-quarters of men (75 percent) also reported being hopeful for 2022, compared to only two-thirds of women (67 percent).

About The Author

Julie is the co-founder of Well Defined and a longtime influencer and advocate in the wellness world. Along with her work at Well Defined, she is an executive recruiter and marketing specialist for Hutchinson Consulting. She is also a consultant and content strategist for numerous wellness brands. She is the former editor-in-chief and publisher of American Spa and was named a 2019 Folio Top Woman in Media in the Industry Trailblazers category and a 2018 winner of ISPA’s Innovate Award. She is also a seasoned journalist, specializing in spa, travel, health, fitness, wellness, sustainability, and beauty. She has been published in Departures,, E! Online,, Insider’s Guide to Spas, Luxury Travel Advisor, Marin Magazine, Ocean Home, Smart Meetings, Spa Asia, and Travel Agent.