When I am Old. And Fat

I’ve always loved the poem below. I’ve read it many times and each time, assumed it was about allowing ourselves to get fat and to wear bright colored MuMus when we are older. Seriously. I just read a critique that says it’s about letting ourselves have fun and be silly and break the rules. Who knew? My mindset was all about and only about being thin. What do you make of this poem?

When I am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple by Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me,
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals and say we’ve no money for butter
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausage at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not sweat in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We will have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised,
When suddenly I am old and start to wear purple.

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