When I Grow Up…


I love the idea that is presented in the lyric "When I grow up, I wanna be an old woman!" I truly want to be an old woman, far too old to care, before I get into the mindset that restrictions in life, the burdens of living and the responsibilities of being in the world become too overwhelming to allow for humor, for risk, for making mistakes and correcting myself…

… and for having fun.

When I grow up, I wanna be an old woman.

I have taken on enormous responsibilities, endured great tragedy and have accomplished fine things. At this stage of life, even though I do not have anywhere near a full life, I can focus on many projects and endeavors that would be considered "artistic" and therefore a waste of time and energy.

When I grow up, I wanna be an old woman.

I don’t intend to let others impose ideas of what it is to be a grownup on my life process. Many of the external ideas involve shallow or poorly defined ways of impressing others that maturity has been achieved. It is fine to dance, to be friendly to strangers and to be silly and humorous. It is fine to get exercise, to have a positive outlook on life and to shelter from the dangers of the world. It is fine to read the headlines, but it is not fine to let them create an outlook that is histrionic or overly gloomy.

When I grow up, I wanna be an old woman.

I do not want to be a gossip, a needy and demanding whiner, a toxic monster, or a judgmental but useless interference into other people’s affairs. I want to be a problem solver, a soother and of service to those who need a kind and helpful word. I want my help when I need it and to help others when I can.

 I want to be alone when desired and to enjoy the hard earned wages of peace and solitude. I want to be an old woman who can reflect on the past without regrets in the present.

When I grow up, I wanna be an old woman.

When I die, I want to be remembered as a person who contributed to to the history of the world.  I have until I become an old woman, entitled to take daytime naps and to lie supine for long periods.

I still have time to accomplish more of the stuff that is remembered about a person by children and the children’s children.

So, I am not an old woman and I am thus not grown up yet.

Michelle Shocked, "When I Grow Up" lyrics