The 2020’s: Health Trending
Goodbye 2010’s, you really weren’t an easy decade. Ten years ago, it was a bit like mankind was driving along at a good speed on newly constructed highway and suddently without warning the road turned into a winding dirt road. Our extra large coffee mugs flew up into the windshield, Grandpa dropped the cigarette and the kids screamed in the back. That was the 2010’s, or at least the end of it.
But that was then, now it is important to look ahead. It’s time to speculate a bit on what will catch our attention during this upcoming decade. To celebrate the new decade, I thought about doing this a little differently, namely in the form of an interview where I answer questions that – uh – I ask myself. We can call the interviewing version of myself for Bob , this way it will be a little easier to keep up.
Bob: Erik, could you give us a brief summary of the 2010’s?
Erik: In many ways, we have achieved a real breakthrough in terms of awakening people’s interest regarding things that are proven to improve our health: many people exercise like never before, we want to eat natural and nutritious food, we know that we need regular rest and recovery, etc. That message, to care for oneself and one’s health, has been successfully drummed into people. People have listened and we have been moving in the right direction, quite a bit actually.
Bob: It sounds positive, but…
Erik: … well, there are a few storm clouds still ahead though.
Bob: What comes to mind?
Erik: The health gap, i.e., the average life expectancy of the low-educated continues to decline, that trend will take time to reverse. We still have a large-scale food industry that is more obsessed with money than ever, and they intend to keep earning the big money at the expense of public health and the environment. For example, it is said that 1 million PET bottles are produced in the world PER MINUTE, mainly containing sugared water. Is this reasonable considering what the soda does to our health, or that the oceans are drowning in plastic? But as long as no one stops this, it will continue. Morality is not a direct strength of capitalism.
Another thing, which is also not very helpful, is the battles that exist between different health field experts. It would help them to keep in mind a separation between a person and a thing, no one has a monopoly on the truth. Everyone would benefit if we got a little better at arguing a little more objectively, and taking down the defenses.
Bob: Maybe not, but it can also be good with a good discussion and debate, after all, there is quite a lot at stake?
Erik: We definitely must safeguard the freedom to express our opinions, and this also applies in a psychological sense but just because we can hide behind our technological toys(e.g., cell phones), we should not forget to treat people with respect, even when we think differently.
Bob: What do you think about the food we’ll see in the 2020’s?
Erik: Vego trends are only likely to grow stronger, partly because people want to live in a more sustainable way, and thus want to get away from a large-scale meat industry that treats animals in a completely brutal way. And of course people also want to consume more healthy food with minimal additives, and other chemical misery. The 2020’s will be more about balance and sustainability, and then we need to get back to the small scale.
Bob: Seems logical. Anything more to add there?
Erik: Personal nutrition has already had a breakthrough, and it will likely continue, possibly supported by research which shows more and more that we should adapt our diet to our individual needs and what makes us feel good. One size does not fit all, so to speak.
Bob: What else?
Erik: One guess is that we will rediscover ancient healing art from the plant kingdom, and use it more and more, for example in our food. It can be used to reduce inflammation in the joints, reduce pain, help us sleep better, or strengthen bones and immune systems. There will also be more and more research showing that many herbs, fruits, nuts and vegetables are literally like your own pharmacy, though minus the shareholders. We will also want to replace many hygiene products, such as soap, shampoo, deodorants and toothpaste, to more natural alternatives. When it comes to chemicals that come into contact with the skin, we will become increasingly discerning and skeptical.
Bob: We’ll see. Any other big themes you foresee?
Erik: People will become more and more aware of the enormous influence on their health from social factors. Then I do not mean primarily the classic social variables such as education and economics, which will continue to have great influence, but our social capital and friends. Isolation literally (almost) eats away at health and well-being, and we will get better and better at going back to spending more physical time with our friends, and even begin to actually speak to each other again vs digital communication.
Another huge theme for the next 10 years will be freedom, and linked to it, integrity will also come into focus. Many will begin to investigate themselves a little more seriously than before and wonder why they are running on the hamster wheel and feeling bad, why they don’t have time for things like their kids or friends. Money and status will gradually be reprioritized as we want to live more sustainably, in slightly greater harmony with our inner values and feelings.
A big hope I have is that the body fixation and appearance will calm down a bit as we focus more on the inside. Although it may be awhile before we reach that point. The fight will continue.
Nature will also be another big theme. We want to get out of the concrete jungle, and breathe fresh air, we really need that.
Bob: You focus a lot on nature, sustainability, plants and such, sounds like a repeat of the 70’s?
Erik: No Bob, we’re not going back to the 70’s. But people are concerned about the future, and are learning from our recent past, many people will get pets, go down to part-time, and make life changes that they will feel much better from. Life will be a little more adventurous and less predictable, and we will enjoy that. People will gradually begin to dare a little more than before. It won’t be as scary as it is today.
Bob: This was a pretty extensive small talk, we need to round off. Do you have something to end with?
Erik: I think that collectively we have to try to embrace that we will have to tough it out on this slightly bumpy dirt road for a little while, but then I actually think we will get to better and more fun roads ahead, at least before the next decade change. Until then, we will learn to live in a way that is a little more sustainable than today, where humanity’s inherent creativity and good sides emerge and are managed in a much better way than today. Hold on!
Bob: Well thanks for that positive upswing there at the end!
Erik: I do my best bob to balance being a realist and an optimist.
Bob: Thanks Erik!
Erik: Best wishes to everyone and good luck with the upcoming decade!
This is a guest post. Any opinions expressed are the writer’s own.