Why is it that as we grow older and stronger
The road signs point us adrift and make us afraid
Saying "You never can win," "Watch your back," "Where's your husband?"
Oh, I don't like the signs that the sign makers made.

So I'm going to steal out with my paint and brushes
I'll change the directions, I'll hit every street
It's the Tinseltown scandal, the Robin Hood vandal
She goes out and steals the king's English
And in the morning you wake up and the signs point to you

They say
"I'm so glad that you finally made it here,"
"You thought nobody cared, but I did, I could tell,"
And "This is your year," and "It always starts here,"
And oh "You're aging well."

Well I know a woman with a collection of sticks
She could fight back the hundreds of voices she heard
And she could poke at the greed, she could fend off her need
And with anger she found she could pound every word.
But one voice got through, caught her up by surprise
It said, "Don't hold us back, we're the story you tell,"
And no sooner than spoken, a spell had been broken
And the voices before her were trumpets and tympani
Violins, basses and woodwinds and cellos, singing

"We're so glad that you finally made it here
You thought nobody cared, but we did, we could tell
And now you'll dance through the days while the orchestra plays
And oh, you're aging well."

Now when I was fifteen, oh, I knew it was over
The road to enchantment was not mine to take
'Cause lower calf, upper arm should be half what they are
I was breaking the laws that the sign makers made.

And all I could eat was the poisonous apple
And that's not a story I was meant to survive
I was all out of choices, but the woman of voices

She turned round the corner with music around her,
She gave me the language that keeps me alive, she said:

"I'm so glad that you finally made it here
With the things you know now, that only time could tell
Looking back, seeing far, landing right where we are
And oh, you're aging, oh and I am aging,
Oh, aren't we aging well?"


Lyrics submitted by aur0ra

You're Aging Well Lyrics as written by Dar Williams

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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You're Aging Well song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • +1
    General Comment

    There's lots in this song. What struck me about it recently (as I get older) is that it seems to be a call for women to not only let each other know that we're on the right paths in life (at each point in the song, the singer is comforted and assured by other women who let her know that she's not off course like the "system" would have her believe) but also to give us freedom to age well.

    Women today aren't supposed to age. We're supposed to fight it with creams and regimes and botox and plastic surgery. There is a freedom in telling someone and being told that you are aging well. It gives one the freedom to age.

    Sylviedon June 20, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Originally by Joan Baez, this song is about getting worried about where you life is headed. You hear all this crap from people, about how you should be living your life. Then you realize one day that this is your year, your life is just beginning, you're on the right track and you really are aging well, possibly because another wise woman has let you be yourself. When you realize that it's okay to break the laws that the signmakers made and be yourself its like you can finally hear all the music of life and it's a beautiful thing.

    VampedVixenon November 08, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I see this as a song that follows the life of a young woman who has never conformed to social norms...People are always asking if she's on the right track because she's "breaking the signs that the sign makers made." She seeks beauty to help her cope with the idea that society views her as an outcast, with her paint brushes and her use of the English language (she stole the king's English, meaning she has a vast vocabulary) But even with all of what she gives back to society, she is still seen as a sort of failure, so she is lead to keeping everyone away with her caustic words;"she could fight back the voices" with her "collection of sticks." However, she is angry with herself for keeping everyone so far away with the words that she "pounds," until one person made all the difference. She began seeing the beautiful things in life again, even though this "road to enchantment" wasn't hers to take (this line is key, because it isn't saying that her life be wonderful, it is meerly saying that this road to enchantment that other find by the people that follow the signs...I take it to believe that she will have a better one, but this is up for interpretation) After this this woman who saved her essentially saves her from distancing herself from everythingbecause she was so unhappy- the poisoness apple that she wasn't meant to survive would have been the path she was following to suicide. However, she began to see the beauty and she ages well....just like the woman who saved her (who followed the same path "Looking back, seeing far, landing right where we are.")

    BagPipes21on September 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This has to be my favorite Dar song. I love the last verse especially the line "but the woman of voices she turned round the corner with music around her." It just reminds me of all the musians that inadvertently helped me out once in my life I think this song can help reflect a little of everyone in it.

    storyofmylifeon December 15, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    It's about being a woman in a society that's tough for women. Happiness in society is only for the beautiful and the slim ("The road to enchantment was not mine to take 'Cause lower calf, upper arm should be half what they are") and those who aren't are cast aside. What's important is a woman staying young, being beautiful, having a man ("where's your husband?") and keeping her man by doing these things ("watch your back").

    It's about two women - the one with the "collection of sticks" who tried to live by all the rules and was miserable trying to be something she was not, until finally one voice got through and she had a revelation that she could be herself and not play by the rules.

    The other woman is the teenager who was so unhappy because of her weight/appearance, that she felt she didn't belong, and tried to commit suicide (the poisonous apple) but she met the "woman of voices" who taught her what she had learned, that she does, indeed, have value beyond her looks and what men think. And those lessons stayed with her throughout her life.

    I think this is one of Dar's most beautiful songs.

    heartprivon November 12, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My Opinion

    A song full of pain and beauty.
    I'm probably way, way off base, since I'm a middle-aged guy, but I've always thought this is about mental illness, and, just maybe, finding happiness and clarity. Probably not, but that's where it takes me.

    rbraxleyon February 23, 2016   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation

    I believe that this song is sung in two voices. First that of a woman who suffers from OCD (woman of voices), who has stopped having relationships with men (fights off her need) because she has enough to deal with, but isn't really happy. Secondly, the voice of a man, who has had an equally unhappy life, caused by having relationships with married women (the poisonous apple), and as a result doesn't really understand love and made no emotional progress. The two meet, later in life, and this is very beneficial for both (orchestras, timpani etc, - for her), (She gave me the language that keeps me alive - for him) and concludes "aren't WE aging well". A beautiful, intelligent song , lovely to listen to on any level. This is what it means to me anyway. i wonder what it means to Dar williams?

    angusvarleyon March 14, 2017   Link

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