Doomsday has come and gone — again. Now that you’ve all survived, Dana Filek-Gibson encourages you to live each day to the extreme.
To anyone who has been hiding in his apartment, surviving on Aquafina and instant noodles, it is now safe to come out. The deadline for the apocalypse has passed and, despite countless end-of-the-world parties, 2012 is over and the Earth still turns. Xe om drivers continue to nap on street corners, banh mi stands carry on their fight against cleanliness, and everyone in the sandwich-board-of-sunglasses business is still trying to sell you some Ray-Bans. Indeed, not much in 2013 — if anything — has changed.
Except, of course, that you’ve survived an apocalypse. It was the most underwhelming, anti-climactic doomsday anyone could have foretold, but it was, technically speaking, still the end of the world. The unfortunate result is that, after such a dramatic build-up, no one is fighting off aliens or looting supermarkets. But while the apocalypse of your imagination never came to fruition, the silver lining to all this excitement is that everyone has been granted a second chance at life. And, as one of the many remaining citizens of Earth, you now have the responsibility to live this year to the extreme.
The key to making this year more outrageous than any before it is to remember that 2013 was, according to the Mayans, never supposed to happen. Difficult as it may be over the coming weeks and months, you cannot let the high emotions of this moment slip away.
Like every other year, many people will begin 2013 as their best selves, full of resolution to eat better, save the whales, be kinder to children, or learn Vietnamese, and by March, they will be back to their usual junk-food-eating, whale-hating routine. But not you.
In order to take full advantage of this post-apocalyptic year, everything in your daily life must become an extreme event. Gone are the days of ‘commuting’ to work; instead, you will master the art of motorcross on the streets of Saigon, careening down Dien Bien Phu as if brakes and traffic police were a thing of the past. The age of ‘Sunday driving’ and stopping at red lights is over. You have been blessed with the gift of prolonged life and, as such, you will not waste any time yielding to other vehicles. Indeed, several thousand young delivery drivers in this city have already chosen not to waste time with frivolous luxuries like turn signals or paying attention.
Likewise, 2013 is no longer a year for simply ‘making dinner’. In this new, post-apocalyptic world, you must take cooking to new heights. Anyone can enjoy a take-away meal, but how many expats in this city can cook? Never mind microwaveable dinners from the import store. You always knew that it was possible to purchase a live animal at the market, carry it home in a plastic bag, and sacrifice that animal in the name of barbecue. Now, in true Mayan fashion, is the time to do so. This may be disturbing to some, namely vegetarians, but you have to remember that this is the world we now live in — bold, bright and terrifying.
Once you’ve elevated your everyday habits, like driving and eating, to an intensity appropriate for the end of the world, it is time to go forth and conquer new frontiers. Everyone strives to become a better person in the new year by exploring new interests, like the art of ballroom dancing or Gangnam Style. Whatever you choose to occupy your time, it is important that you opt for the extreme version of that activity. Wouldn’t ballroom dancing, after all, be far more interesting if it were done with swords in the park? While this may never have crossed your mind, there’s a social club somewhere in District 1 that attracts swarms of middle-aged women seeking a thrill in this exact way. If dancing doesn’t suit you, self-defense is always an option. There’s no way to be sure, but I feel vaguely certain that Saigon is waiting for someone to open its first official fight club.
Regardless of what 2013 brings, it is up to you to make sure the tenor of your life post-apocalypse is worth remembering. You can take pride in the knowledge that, following the end of the world, you did not give up and sink back into your humdrum routine. Instead, you seized the moment, killed a chicken, and fearlessly raced through rush-hour traffic with your eyes closed. Now is the time to go forth and live like there’s no tomorrow.