This undated file artist’s rendering shows one of NASA’s twin Voyager spacecraft.
This undated file artist's rendering shows one of NASA's twin Voyager spacecraft. (The Associated Press)

The first breath of 2013 is a sigh of relief. Finally, a year when nobody predicts the apocalypse.

If you're thinking of things to look forward to in the new year, where better to start than with the unanimous belief that the world isn't about to end?

And there's so much more. This might seem like a quiet sort of year, on the heels of an Olympic and presidential-election year. But it shapes up as one of the good ones.

We've come up with 13 reasons.

International Happiness Day: The United Nations has declared March 20 to be a day of worldwide happiness. This is not to be confused with World Smile Day (Oct. 4) and World Kindness Day (Nov. 13). Start practicing.

Economic growth: The Economist magazine forecasts the U.

United States Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.
United States Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. (The Associated Press)
S. economy will expand by 2.1 percent this year, slower than much of the world but faster than Western Europe and Japan. Call it slow progress.

Obama II: President Obama will be sworn in for a second term Jan. 20. Because that's a Sunday, the public ceremony will be held the next day. It will be a great occasion for Obama's supporters, who look forward to a term unfettered by re-election concerns, and for his detractors, since it's the beginning of the end of his administration.

Speaking of sequels: Theaters will be full of old favorites, thanks to the scheduled release of movies featuring Superman, Thor, the Lone Ranger, "The Hobbit," "Star Trek." Arnold Schwarzenegger will go back to what he does best, starring in "The Last Stand.


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The final frontier: Consider it real-life "Star Trek." Thirty-five years into its flight, Voyager I is more than 11 billion miles from the sun, and it's on the verge of becoming the first craft to escape the solar system and begin exploring interstellar space. Scientists say it could get there any day, or it could be a few more years. It must be taking the 405.

L.A. elects a mayor: Municipal elections this year will feature the race to succeed Antonio Villaraigosa as mayor of Los Angeles.

Dodgers Dee Gordon and Matt Kemp high five after defeating the Pirates 2-1 in the 2012 home opener at Dodger Stadium.
Dodgers Dee Gordon and Matt Kemp high five after defeating the Pirates 2-1 in the 2012 home opener at Dodger Stadium. (David Crane / Staff Photographer)
The next Hizzoner could be Her Honor - if Wendy Greuel or Jan Perry prevails in the contest whose contenders include Eric Garcetti and Kevin James, L.A. will have its first woman mayor.

Prop. 8 finality: Nationally, the political highlight of the year could be the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on California's Proposition 8 and other states' laws prohibiting same-sex marriage. The decision is expected in June. Then, no more arguments about gay marriage. OK, not really.

Wait till this year: For baseball fans, whose new year begins April 1, this could be quite a season. The Dodgers begin their first full season under a new ownership regime. The Dodgers and Angels are sparing no expense to try to build World Series-caliber rosters.

The first piece of the spire is hoisted atop One World Trade Center on December 12, 2012 in New York City.  The first of 18 sections of spire was hoisted
The first piece of the spire is hoisted atop One World Trade Center on December 12, 2012 in New York City. The first of 18 sections of spire was hoisted atop the 104-story building by crane this morning. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) (Getty Images / Mario Tama)

A new trade center: Out of the ashes of Manhattan's Twin Towers rises One World Trade Center. With a spire reaching 1,776 feet in the air, the building scheduled to open this year will be the tallest in the Western Hemisphere.

Making tracks?: This year should bring to a head the argument about whether California should push ahead with Gov. Jerry Brown's controversial plan for a $68 billion bullet train to connect the L.A. and San Francisco areas. Groundbreaking is scheduled for the spring. Funding worries and lawsuits could delay it.

Mobility: Technology-watchers say this will be the year mobile Internet devices outnumber desktop and laptop computers. Raise your hand if you're reading this on a smart phone.

Mark your calendar: February looks like an active month for those whose activity consists of sitting in front of the TV. The Super Bowl is Feb. 3, the Grammy Awards Feb. 10, and the Academy Awards Feb. 24.

And reason number 13: This year should mark the end of triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13. Assuming we get through 2013 without the world coming to an end.

As it is widely assumed we will.

Happy new year.