when i was younger, after a reprimand or lesson of some sort, my grandma used to tell me, “you have to learn how to be a person.” that would be the most direct translation of the chinese. what she meant, of course, was that one has to know how to behave properly, how to treat people, how to maintain appearances, how to be good, how to be proper, polite and well bred. yes, all that in one little phrase.
grandma always tried to teach us how to be people. she made a valiant effort. and then she slipped into dementia, and i guess she no longer knew how to be her own person. and now she is no longer a person.
well. i suppose one must acquiesce to life’s circumstances.
i am no longer certain i know how to be a person.