The Endless Work of Becoming (and “Un”becoming!)

Hopefully, as we age, we continue to work to improve ourselves. We understand that we are not one-and-done, but rather we step-by-step our way into healthier, saner, kinder versions of our younger selves. Becoming a Peacemaker is the work of my sixth and seventh decades. 

It’s interesting to me that at the same time we are “un”becoming. Aging “offers” its input here. Physically, I am “un”becoming the person I was when I was younger: I am more fragile, less flexible, and less fleet of foot. I have aches and an occasional pain. My physical skin is thinner and more spotted. (My metaphorical skin is actually much thicker with age, Hallelujah!) If I am interested in becoming older, I therefore must work at becoming physically stronger. Emotionally, I am “un”becoming quite as worried as I was as a younger woman about what others think about me. As a woman possessing her wits, her wisdom, and with a goodly few number of years under my belt, I am dying my hair purple and wearing red glasses that are a perfect compliment to my many black dresses and suit me to a T. (tip o’ the hat to Jenny Joseph whose poem was originally named “Warning!”). Mentally, I am “un”becoming bothered by the shoulds and musts and instead making connections with desires I never allowed myself in my youth. Witness: my Peacemaker’s Tarot for the 21st Century. Talk about things that have never been put in the same sentence, let alone title before!

However, speaking of “un”becoming — in the other use of the word — I retain traits that I have not yet managed to leave behind. For instance, I have a tendency towards judginess. It is also unfortunate that I can hold on to a point of view like a terrier with her teeth caught in a sleeve. Ick. The question is simply whether or not I’m willing to become a better person, someone not at odds with my deepest values? Another, equally important question is whether I’m willing to streamline my life and make it easier? 

What am I judgy about, you ask? I can become so self-righteous when other people are not concerned about things I find to be of utmost importance. How can people not wear seatbelts? Why aren’t we eliminating poverty? How can people not understand the importance of working for our planet? And ok, at my very worst, although there’s less of this these days, who told them to wear that? (After all, I know what I’m wearing at home — whatever’s comfortable!)

If there’s anything I know about becoming a Peacemaker, it is that I must constantly hold out a welcoming hand to invite people along. That judgy thing I do is completely antithetical to making Peace. It’s also completely antithetical to being healthy and relaxed, which sure as heck is something you want to be becoming as you age — and at whatever age. 

So, dear friend… what are you becoming that makes you proud and happy? And what might you consider “un”becoming that holds you back from engagement, presence, and delight? Isn’t it worth a moment of your time to take a moment and reflect on that?

Salaam, Shalom, Peace. Blessed be.