Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Don't Trade Up

Moment in David Rakoff's last dance
Here is the simplest lesson you taught me: Don’t trade up. 

In terms of three-word volumes, it ranks right up there with “It gets better.” Like that more famous line, it starts out as a bit of simple, practical instruction — don’t back out of a social engagement just because a snazzier offer came along — and broadens out into an entire perspective on how to live. Don’t grade friendships on a hierarchical scale. Don’t value people based on some external indicator of status. Don’t take a competitive view of your social life. There are very few rules I carry around with me every day. Don’t trade up is one of them, and I truly can’t tell you how many seemingly complicated situations it resolved into clarity and fairness.

from the feature on David Rakoff in The Lives They Lived, this month's New York Times, which celebrates the lives of those who died in 2012.

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