It's easy to waste time in this city. Without discipline, New York can become a blur of parties and hangovers. There's always a reason to go out, a way to rationalize spending time, money, and brain cells on alcohol.
But if I'm going to make this place my home, then I have to be deliberate with how I spend my time and who I allow into my life. I have to make a serious effort to keep what supports the good things in my life and cut what ultimately works against me. Thankfully, I don't think it's a futile effort. I think there's potential for a great life here.
I think New York City remains attractive because of that potential — those millions of moments that can change your life in a way that wouldn't be conceivable elsewhere. Maybe that sounds trite, but the truth is, no matter the pursuit, there are thousands of interesting people living in this city who are doing great things. They are out there; you can find them, you can meet them, and you can be awesome together.
What I've learned, though, is that New York becomes a trap when you let it be about Ego.
I met a friend in Sao Paulo who likes to say that New York is a city for cupcake lovers. He thinks that everything and everyone is too cute and pretentious. Cute people wearing cute clothes eating cute food in cute places. And what could be cuter than a tiny cupcake? I understand his point and I can empathize with his disgust.
I'll admit that I enjoy a cupcake from time to time (metaphorically speaking). But if my purpose here is simply to eat cupcakes with all the other cupcake lovers, then I'm just wasting my time and my life.
My life has to be about more than cupcakes.