"I Don't Wanna Grow Up" as written by and Tom Waits....
Well, when I'm lyin' in my bed at night
I don't want to grow up
Nothin' ever seems to turn out right
I don't want to grow up
How do you move in a world of fog
That's always changing things?
Makes me wish that I could be a dog
Well, when I see the price that you pay
I don't want to grow up
I don't ever want to be that way
I don't want to grow up

Seems like folks turn into things they they'd never want
The only thing to live for is today

I'm gonna put a hole in my T.V. set
I don't want to grow up
Open up the medicine chest
And I don't want to grow up
I don't want to have to shout it out
I don't want my hair to fall out
I don't want to be filled with doubt
I don't want to be a good boy scout
I don't want to have to learn to count
I don't want to have the biggest amount
I don't want to grow up

Well, when I see my parents fight
I don't want to grow up
They all go out and drinking all night
And I don't want to grow up
I'd rather say here in my room
Nothin' out there but sad and gloom
I don't want to live in a big old tomb on Grand Street, hoo

When I see the five o'clock news
I don't want to grow up
Comb their hair and shine their shoes
I don't want to grow up
Stay around in my old hometown
I don't want to put no money down
I don't want to get me a big old loan
Work them fingers to the bone
I don't want to float a broom
Fall in love and get married then boom
How the hell did I get here so soon?
I don't want to grow up


Lyrics submitted by iKickDogs

"I Don't Wanna Grow Up" as written by Thomas Alan Waits Kathleen Brennan

Lyrics © JALMA MUSIC

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I Don't Wanna Grow Up song meanings
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17 Comments

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  • +5
    My InterpretationUnlike some other respondents, I don't see this as being about the childhood innocence we all used to have, but now that we've grown up we've seen the light. Quite the opposite. I see it as a man who has grown up, and wishes he could regain the freedom that children have; the freedom not to have to fit into the system and become something nobody ever wanted to be. Part of the beauty of being a child is you can not conform, and people still love you and look after you. When you're an adult, if you don't conform, you suffer.

    So I see this as a critique of our society and a manifesto for not taking the place we're supposed to sit still in after we "grow out of" our yearning for something better. If in our society growing up is combing your hair, shining your shoes, becoming a good boy scout, and wanting the biggest amount, then, fuck it, I don't wanna grow up.
    elcaleboon March 04, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General CommentWanting to stay a child and not have to deal with the problems that adults have is so natural, I think. It's so innocent.
    lixtetraxon March 17, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General Comment"how the hell did it get here soon". i am always aking that question. years are passing so fast.
    yumurton May 19, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI do not interpret 'medicine chest' as a reference to suicide. It's a reference to needing pharmaceutical drugs as you grow older. This interpretation fits well with the rest of the song. Fact of the matter is you spend childhood disagreeing with your parents and promising to be nothing like them. Next thing you know you are much more like them than you ever anticipated - to include using many of the parenting skills learned from them with your own children.
    hawaiipt1on February 28, 2009   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaningit being about suicide makes a lot of sense with the "medicine chest" line. I think it's also about a few other things: a sentimental (somewhat less dark) recollection of being little and powerless in a big scary world. A reminder of the childhood innocence that we all want back. An affirmation that children really hold the truth and grown-ups mess it by conforming, by settling ("seems that folks turn into things they never want to be").

    I really love this song but it's hard to really pin down why it clicks so much with me. All I know is that I heard it and after every line my eyes got wide and I gave a knowing nod.
    legionX29on December 11, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionI was introduced to this song (but not to Tom Waits who I already knew) by the Ramones. As a 38 year old guy who's been listening to the Ramones since the mid 80s this song sometimes brings me to tears, especially sung with Joey's melodic crooning voice.

    It is the tale of a man growing up and wishing he could stay young forever but having to deal with the realities of the world around him. Opening up the medicine chest could be either the medicine that comes with old age (although that's an easy explanation), or more poetically, dealing with suicidal thoughts.

    Now that I have heard the Tom Waits version (after the excellent Ramones cover!) and listened to the album I see a lot of songs deal with death, so the medicine chest could well be the easy way out!
    RenRamoneon August 21, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthats such an awesome song.. i feel the same way.
    hoydenon October 21, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentha ha great song... made me think
    MardyAsson October 30, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI dont want to ever grow up.


    I'm glad i can now drink and have sex. So you know, it's not all bad.
    sillybillyon June 01, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe Ramones did a great cover of this song on their last album "Adios Amigos".
    rockstothebasson August 27, 2006   Link

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