Midlife Rebellion (or Why I Decided to Get a Tattoo)

Be warned: If you are young, hip and completely cool, look away. This is an old broad’s lament, with dated references and yesterday’s news, when twittering was something only birds did.

If I’m fortunate, I will be hitting an age that I’ve always thought of as the middle of one’s life. And I may be going off the deep end.

I was raised conservative, Christian and poor. I was raised to be neither seen nor heard, speaking only when spoken to and quieted with a smack across the head. Invisibility was key to surviving my childhood. I carried that skill far into adulthood, testing the waters occasionally outside the mainstream, only to rush back to the camouflage of mediocrity. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become restless and irritable. The status quo makes me nervous – is this it? Even in midlife, I’m a walking clichΓ©.

What is mainstream now, statistically speaking, seems foreign and exotic to me, while other things are starting to repeat themselves. If you live long enough, that seems to happen more frequently. The “Soylent Green” of yesterday is now “The Hunger Games”. The churn is happening faster and faster. Vampires in movies and literature have been through at least three cycles in the last twenty years. Bell bottoms and polyester came back. Apparently bad taste has no decade.

I’ve gotten tired of keeping up and now understand why my grandpa continued to listen to big band music like it was the latest pop sensation. Information, music, trends, culture, politics, books – there’s so much of it and duplication is unavoidable, even if the players are younger. Then one day you read the news and you have no idea who the story is referring to or have never heard of someone just nominated for a Grammy. And it’s okay. I’m part of the “sandwich generation”- raising a young child and helping to take care of aging parents as well. Priorities have changed – I know more about geriatric issues and children’s books and less about American Idol winners.

This brings me around to how I’ve decided to celebrate my midlife urgency. It’s not a “crisis”, which seems like too much of a commitment. I’m exhausted. I really can’t afford to have a crisis. People are counting on me. My bucket list has, in many ways, been emptied. I was always a late bloomer and didn’t settle down until my early thirties, by which time I’d traveled, loved and lost, did my booze and drug experimentation, tried out hobbies and interests. There’s no regrets unresolved, no lost loves that didn’t deserve to be and no desire for death-defying stunts to make me feel alive.

Now this is where being hip, cool and “with it” will make this seem like nothing, no big deal at all. I’m getting a tattoo. Combine my age, my background and my fear of needles and this IS death-defying to me. I find myself trying to justify it to friends who could care less, confessing my plans to people who I know won’t approve, just to get disapproval out of the way. Like any properly trained adult, I did the research, got a recommendation to an artist, weighed the pros and cons and asked myself the hard questions.

It turns out, a lot of middle aged women are getting “inked” (I’m not hip enough to even pull off the terminology). One friend suggested it was a way for women to truly take ownership of themselves in a society that seems intent on telling them what do with their bodies. For me, it is a mark of departure from my first half of life, a mark of departure from where and who I’ve been. It’s a message to myself that moving forward, I am going to be braver and more daring in ways that I’ve only imagined. I won’t be particularly cool or hip, but in my mind, I feel like I did the very first time I got on a plane to go overseas. I was nervous with anticipation, but knew that I was about to embark on a wonderful journey. The journey thus far has been rocky and amazing. I’ve worked through pain, overcome obstacles, and learned to swim on my own. I’m ready for the deep end.

Update: It’s a done deal, folks. See Tattoo Accomplished: The FollowΒ Up. Thanks for all the great comments!

210 Comments on “Midlife Rebellion (or Why I Decided to Get a Tattoo)

  1. Well poop. What exactly is the age at which one achieves the middle of one’s life? Because I fear I’m past that point…

    πŸ˜‰

    So, pray tell, what will the tattoo depict? Or are you teasing us to read on?

    Great post!

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    • I suppose guessing one’s age at the time of death is macabre. I was hoping for 90. 80 seems too young and 100 would suck because then people put a party hat on you and take pictures which are put in all the local papers and TV news. I don’t want to go out like that.

      My tattoo is still a bit of a mystery to me. I haven’t seen the final draft by the artist doing it, but plan on posting a pic down the road since no one will believe me if I don’t. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I have the idea, which unfortunately doesn’t involve a naked sailor and poker chips. It’s pretty tame by comparison. Will post a pic down the road since I have announced that I’m getting one.

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  2. I’m a young old (I never got the hip thing down pat) and I still love this. For my generation, getting a tattoo was practically part of a coming of age ritual, so I’ve gone the other way. My skin is sans ink. For me, that’s the statement, but it’s all relative and I can completely appreciate your message.
    Thanks for bravely sharing this.

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    • I was that way about getting pierced ears when I was younger. All I could think about was the tribal women with sticks through their noses and plates in their lips. How things change and attitudes mellow, when you realize in the big scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter. Still not pierced, but only because I don’t like accessories. Stay true to yourself, whoever that person is at the time. Thanks for reading!

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  3. I am considering a tattoo and I love your insight. I think we have a good deal in common. I am 46. My tattoo is most likely going to happen after I run a 50K ultra marathon. I was going to get one after a marathon but somehow it didn’t seem monumental enough after the running of it. In part it’s because I want to make a statement about my own ownership of me too. Back in our day, nice girls didn’t get tattoos. I figure if I am this old and I want one now, I won’t change my mind in 10 years about it. πŸ˜€ Go for it and celebrate!

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    • We have a good deal in common until you mention any phrase with the word “Marathon” that doesn’t involve the word “Movie”. Good grief, you put me to shame with my occasional 5K. You rock!
      I read so many articles on tattoos and the comment sections were relentless with this attitude about “nice girls” and tattoos, except they used a lot of words to say they weren’t nice. It really made me think about the rules of a woman’s body being governed by social, moral and cultural dictates. It also made me want to get a tattoo pronto.
      Thanks for reading!

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      • There is no longer much of a taboo about tattoos. Everyone seems to have at least one, including housewives I am friends with in our 40’s. I started embracing more adventure sports just a few years ago and find a lot of people in their middle ages participating and kicking butt, beating even the 20-39 year olds in speed and daring. So…basically we’re awesome and we can get tattoos too. My SO is against me getting a tattoo but it’s my decision and maybe an act of feminism, rebellion, declaration of independence or whatever. I already know I am no longer the nice, obedient girl I was when I was younger! πŸ˜€

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        • I started Taekwondo and rock climbing in my 40s and am getting ready to test for my first phase of black belt, so I get that. A tattoo is more a big deal to me personally, because it is outside of my comfort zone and a departure from my peer group (I do seem to know a lot of conservatives), but each person has their own “thing”. This just happens to be mine. Although, I do fantasize about doing a triathlon occasionally.

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  4. Be sure to post pics of the tattoo! I was obsessed with getting a tattoo at age 16, now I’m really glad that I didn’t but who knows I may have a midlife rebellion coming on *wink*

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    • I will post a pic later. Promise! I think I might have picked a tattoo at 16 that I would not want to live with, like “I love Rick Springfield”. Now, I feel a little more confident about my choice. And if it totally blows, my aging, wrinkly skin will soon cover it up. Thanks for reading!

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  5. Wow that third paragraph SO describes my childhood! And I’ve thought of being ‘inked’ also – I’m way older than you – but can’t think of something I’d like to have forever. Enjoy your swim πŸ˜€

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    • I tested the waters with some henna tattoos and fortunately decided against the huge dragon. It made me want to wiggle my arm to make it look like it was moving as a party trick. I looked really stupid. I’m scared, too, but that’s part of the appeal to me. I’m sure there will be a followup where I can be more realistic. I think it will read “Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow…are you done yet? Ow, ow, ow……” Thanks for the writing compliment – I’m scared of writing, too. Maybe I’m a burgeoning adrenaline junkie.

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  6. Well hello! My half century birthday is rolling towards me like a canon on the deck and like you, I am considering getting some ink. Do let us all know how you go on πŸ™‚

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  7. Very interesting. All of this begs a huge question, though…
    What’s the tattoo gonna look like??
    Best of luck.

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    • Thanks. I’ll be as surprised as you as to what it looks like. Got a great local artist referral, so looking forward to his rendering and will post a pic later.

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  8. This is wonderful, and I wish you the best of luck with your journey- and I genuinely think it’s awesome you’re getting a tattoo! I wish I was decisive enough to settle on an idea myself πŸ˜€

    Many congratulations on getting Freshly Pressed πŸ™‚

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    • Thanks for the good wishes. It took me a long time to come up with an idea that I thought I could live with for a tattoo. Excited about the Freshly Pressed deal, but trying to keep my feet on the ground. What should I write about tomorrow? Oh, the pressure!! I feel a bit like a writer….

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  9. Enjoy reading…especially “twiitering was something only birds did”…well off late I have noticed a lot of 70’s fashion making a comeback…those Elvis sideburns,bell-bottoms,polka dots and those buns women showed off in 70’s…after all classic is always fashionable and classy
    πŸ™‚

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    • I had a pair of bell bottoms, in honor our nation’s 200th birthday, covered in stars and stripes. Patriotism will never be the same to me.

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  10. I got my first tat about a month ago in honor of my Marine son, I am 53….I love it. Congrads on your decision to get inked.
    Marine Moms Journal

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  11. Great post! Cheers to you. I applaud your decision to get a tattoo. I got my first tattoo, (notice I said first) just before my grandson was born three years ago. My daughter thought I was going through a midlife crisis. Quite the contrary! I was enjoying my life. After doing almost everything I wanted to do, I decided that a tat was just another thing I wanted to experience. Go for it, and wear it in good health. Enjoy the other half of your life, and the deep end!

    Best,
    Nett

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    • Mostly it will be visible to me, a reminder that I can do things I never imagined. It’s more a tribute to the future.

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  12. Im curious.. you spoke a lot about your age.. but didn’t mention what age you are? I often wonder why people (including me) get so hung up on numbers and imagine what they mean about us or “where we should be in life”. I know in my own experience, the more Live life, the better life seems to be.. I don’t understand the attachment to a low numbered age. I do see that kids tend to have a lot of fun so i do my best to remember the kid in me.

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    • I’m turning 45 pretty soon. I am not hung up on a number, so much as a sense of place in my personal history. I always joke that I was born an old lady. I’ve never been a particularly happy-go-lucky person. Recently, it’s like a traffic signal changed for me – giving me the green light to seek happiness on my own behalf, when I’m mature enough not to find that happiness at the expense of others. Now that I’ve made myself sound like the grim reaper…must go eat ice cream. Thanks for your comments!

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  13. Like you, I am one of those middle-aged women who got “inked”. And like you, I am not cool enough to pull off the terminology either. But I’m glad I did it, and I’m sure you will be too. Just don’t get a huge eagle with glowing red eyes that covers your entire back and you should be fine LOL.

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    • I kept trying to think of a tattoo that would be timeless. Something like the pictures that become something else when you fold the ends in. I figured as my skin sagged, the picture could morph into something else. Instead, I went with something that I didn’t think I’d hate looking at the rest of my life. Thanks for the words of encouragement!

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  14. And how liberating is that! It feels so good when one gets rid of the chains of culture, tradition and education and searches for the self… and does what one wants to instead of what is being told… Good for you!

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    • Of course, if the culture is all about doing what one wants, then liberation is an illusion. Okay, I might need to stop commenting. That was a little morose. Thanks for the good thoughts, though!

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    • Thanks. I’ve sent my idea to an artist, so I’m not sure of the final work. Looking forward to it being done, now that I’ve beat the proverbial dead horse with this blog.

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  15. Sometimes I still want to get inked myself. But, in your case, writing as gorgeously as you do, a real challenge would be becoming a late writer. Your sensitiveness and acuteness relating the self and the world is notorious, to say the least. It would be worthy reading more of you and the way you see all in and around you. πŸ™‚

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  16. Hey there.
    I’m really sorry to be boring, but I’ve just started this blog of mine, about something that’s really important for me, and I’m kind of a beginner in the art of blogging. Anyway, I would really apreciate if you just took a quick look at it just to tell me what you think of it. Thanks so much,
    Amelie.
    Ps: Cool blog!

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    • New to this myself. Will be reading other people’s blogs in the next week to reduce my swollen ego and develop appropriate inferiority complex that will push me to keep writing. Thanks for reading!

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  17. You’re what they used to call the silent majority. Except you have a voice. Well said, with it!

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    • Thank you! I’ve always thought of myself as average in the sense that there are many people like me out there who aren’t represented in politics or culture. We just get on with living our lives, raising our families and trying to find our own sense of direction.

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  18. Go for it! “I was always a late bloomer and didn’t settle down until my early thirties, by which time I’d traveled, loved and lost, did my booze and drug experimentation, tried out hobbies and interests. There’s no regrets unresolved, no lost loves that didn’t deserve to be and no desire for death-defying stunts to make me feel alive.” sounds just like me! I started with the tattoos as a rebellion at 18 and I’m always planning the next one! Heaven knows what my mid life issues will be… I’m 32… We must have a photo when it’s done!

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    • Thanks! My husband suggested a motorcycle would be next on the list, but I’m thinking of doing standup comedy. Just thinking about it makes me want to pee my pants. I like things that have a little fear factor to them, apparently. Will post a pic of the tattoo once I stop laughing with delight that I did it.

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  19. As I read this piece I could hear echoes of my own life..shy teen who blossomed late then had a blast on the forbidden motorcycles and many infatuations. My leap of faith was to immigrate at the age of 49 years. Emotions were high and uncertainity even higher but now I have a life so full I kick myself for not doing it sooner. Go and get your ink and relish it.

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    • Occasionally I will kick myself for not moving faster, but then I go a little Zen and realize I am where I need to be. I’ve been where I needed to have been. Congrats on making a full life for yourself!

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  20. I have had the same thoughts for some time now, being a woman of a certain age. Question is what tat to get and where to get it. My HS students could educate me on where to go and who’s the best. Now it’s a matter of deciding and doing it. Maybe…
    Congrats on being FPd!!! Enjoy the ride!

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    • Everyone kept suggesting I get a tattoo where it could not be seen. I’m getting it on the inside of my forearm where I can see it without dropping my drawers. I told my friends that if I were going to get a tattoo on my butt, it would be of a smaller butt.
      Thanks for the congrats. This is really kind of fun!

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    • Excellent, I’m trying to convert as many people as possible so I can start a lodge. Of course, then everyone would have to get another tattoo with the lodge mascot on it. I’m going with a red-butted baboon. Any ideas for what you want, besides the Baboon Lodge Mascot?

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      • I am in! lol red-butted baboon that is hilarious, that is the thing I do not know what I want maybe a dove or something that flies, you know to signify movement or change.

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  21. As I have a number of tattoos myself, it is always great to see anyone considering to get one. And it is definitely never too late to get one done either! I think you should give plenty of consideration into the design that you are looking to get, and take the time to make it personal. If you’re going to adorn your body with ink, it’s great when the tattoo means a lot to you.

    Once you have a design that you’re happy with, search around for the right artist. Check out their portfolios and don’t be afraid to spend a bit more money on it, so that you’re getting the best quality possible. In my experience, a good artist will offer you plenty of feedback on your design and even make suggestions for how you can adapt the design to suit your body and your feelings on it.

    The main thing is enjoy it! The whole process is very thrilling and once you have the finished piece I’m sure you’ll be very happy with it.

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    • Thanks for all the great advice. Pretty consistent with what I’ve done so far. The appointment is scheduled and my neuroses are all in full working order. I’m excited about it, but also have a feeling I shouldn’t have blabbed to everyone, since I’m also a little freaked. Ah well, nothing ventured, nothing stabbing you in the arm with needles. By the way, do they call them tattoo “parlors” anymore? I keep using this term and it sounds like I’m 80 years old.

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      • The nerves are all part of the experience! They tend to call them tattoo studios, but you’ll find different terms wherever you go. Hope the appointment goes well and glad to hear you’ve got it all scheduled and sorted πŸ™‚

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    • Thanks for the congrats. I’m a little overwhelmed. Mature about it, though. Did a little shrieking dance and then thought, “Crap, what will I post tomorrow?” Back to work…..

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      • You’re welcome! I think I cried when I got FP’d so yes, your reaction was definitely mature ;). Cheers from a tattooed Californian πŸ™‚

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    • Thanks for the encouragement! I gave a design concept to the tattoo artist and he’ll render the final version. I’ll put up pics once the bleeding stops!

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    • Thanks! In the words of Janis Joplin “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” I don’t necessarily believe that, but I love singing it in the shower.

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  22. Best of luck to you! I love your perspective, it’s so refreshing! And don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt. πŸ™‚

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    • Finally a voice of reason in the wilderness! “It doesn’t hurt.” Sounds like a big fat lie, but I’m going with it! Thanks for the good wishes!

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    • Anxiety. Lots and lots of anxiety. Picked out a personal concept and handed it off to a tattoo artist. We’ll see what he comes up with. Will post pic down the road. Thanks for reading!

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  23. I loved the blog post. Your opening disclaimer to young, cool kids made me smile. I’m 22 and figuring out the bridge from worrying about being cool to worrying about being an adult. I have a teacher, Chris Bursk, who once said to me, “When a cool dude loses his cool, what is he? He’s just a dude.” It always felt like earth shattering philosophy to me. Great post!

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    • Well, obviously you’ve figured out that “worrying” is key to the whole thing. That adds years to your life and will light speed you right into adulthood. Thanks for the compliment!

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  24. Good for you! I hope we get to see the final result. Now you’ve made me wonder what age you consider to be the middle of one’s life. I hope it’s at least fifty! πŸ™‚

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    • I had planned on 90 for myself, but if your goal post is different, so is the midpoint. I will post a pic down the road of the “tat”. I sound like a dork using that term. Maybe I should go with “body mural”. A little pretentious. Better just stick with “tattoo”.

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    • The few times in my life that I tried to appear cool or hip, I looked ridiculous. Think “Flashdance” and clove cigarettes. Once you catch a glimpse of yourself in leg warmers and get a nice hacking morning cough, you know that you can’t pull off cool. It is just so much easier to be whoever you truly are – which is about as cool as it gets.

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    • Indeed. Since this was the blog that got “pressed”, I’ve now been outed and must post a pic after I get it. It’s a couple weeks out, but I’ll follow up!

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      • This post is also a testament to the fact that you need to approve comments quicker! 100’s of people saying/asking for the same thing. When I teased you about pics, I though no one else had asked πŸ˜‰

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  25. Well, I hope I’m still not mid life, but shortly approaching it, but I did have a life urgency and because I settled down early and was always responsible even as a teen, I feel like I am now living my youth as I make it through this urgency.

    Congrats of Freshly Pressed!!

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    • I never want to live my youth, because I was often quite miserable and occasionally stupid. I like now – smart enough not to be a complete idiot, but young enough to make new mistakes. Thanks for the congrats! Time to dig in and get more writing done!

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  26. Thanks for sharing and congratulations on Freshly Pressed. I got a tattoo rather later than most and am terrified of needles too. And it was awesome! Best of luck.

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    • Thanks for the good wishes. I like hearing that it was awesome. I’m hoping that means it was a good experience and that you liked the outcome. Not that you discovered you’re a masochist and are embracing a new lifestyle. Please say it isn’t so, because I am a huge weenie when it comes to needles.

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  27. Go for it! It sounds like you and I had similar upbringings. I got my mid-life tattoo and I love it. It’s a Picasso drawing of a dove, very simply done, on my shoulder.

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  28. Hi there, I’m one year shy of 40 and I’m considering a tattoo also! Maybe something subtle on the top of my foot or inner wrist area. I do still work in Corporate America after all! Good luck!

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    • I used to work in a corporate environment, which was as ill-fitting as my wedding dress would be today. If I had to take that into consideration, I would be choosing subtly as well. Fortunately I work from home now and people would be less put off by a tattoo than the fact that I haven’t showered until midday. Thanks for the good wishes!

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  29. So happy I found this blog. So many things in common, how we were raised, midwestern, middle age, life experiences, I got a tattoo on my 40th bday w/ my best friend. I’m now 42. It’s small and discreet. I never think about it but when I do, it’s with little feeling one way or the other. It’s there, it’s symbolic and it’s forever. Keep ups posted with tattoo pics. Peace.
    ~Steph

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    • I am trying to stay away from small and discreet since I have lived small and discreet. However, I am also a huge boob about pain, so no “sleeve” for me. It will be inside my forearm so I can admire my own personal audacity.

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  30. Congratulations! If this is your way of getting out of the shell, I say great. Just don’t forget your roots. God is not something we want to lose in our life. Cheers!

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    • Thanks for the good wishes. I think if there is a god, it would be pretty tough to shake it/him/her. I don’t know the answers. Sometimes having a shitty childhood combined with religion means that not believing is much easier. Just want to make sure I didn’t mislead. I get that being vague might bring in more readers, but I hate to freak someone out with an anti-religion blog entry when they hooked onto that word “Christian”.

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  31. Love it. Cheers to FP and please share picture of your “tat”. Being 52 it’s a on & off again thing with me about getting inked, so good for you on making up your mind and sharing it with the rest of us bloggers.

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    • I know it’s getting late when I first read your comment and thought you were asking for a picture of my “fat”. I was getting ready to hit the “Spam” button. My eyes are old!
      I went back and forth for about a year on a tattoo and then I went to the Winnipeg Folk Festival and saw some really gorgeous tattoos on people. I’ve been encouraged to post a pic after it’s done, so I will.

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  32. Wow, what a post. It was a piece that started out with a beautifully depicted darkness coming into the light. And the honesty screams! I might just celebrate my midlife…yeah, instead of moping around getting ‘older.’ Midlife is coming soon for me too. Thanks for this.

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    • Thanks for reading. I never understood moping about age. That’s sort of like moping about the sky. It just is. The difference is choice. We get to make choices moving forward that we didn’t have the knowledge or resources to make before. That’s the cool part about it. Celebrate please!

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  33. I’ve been wanting a tattoo for so long. I’m nearly 40, so think I’ll wait a little longer until my teenage daughter is off to college, at least. Then she’ll hopefully just think I’m cool, rather than crazy (because mom’s aren’t supposed to go off and get tattoos).

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    • Since I have a youngster at home, I have to emphasize how painful it will be, so she doesn’t haul off and have one done in her teens of her latest boyfriend. I plan on moaning a lot and talking about all the blood. Your daughter will always think you’re a little crazy – that’s a guarantee of the mother-daughter bond, so get it when you want to get it.

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  34. Fantastic post! And from this (fairly) heavily tattooed girl who is also ‘too old’ to be considered cool or hip – not that I’ve ever let that stop me – you’re never too old to start your body art collection. Will be waiting in anticipation to see what and where this tattoo ends up, since the placement is almost as important as the artwork itself.

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  35. Loved your post! You have a great sense of humor and wisdom about things! I have always said I would get a tatoo (little did I know I should say inked) if it symbolized an important event or person in my life. What better…a symbol of your own life! Kudos! Is that still a hip thing to say? Best wishes!

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    • I think you can still get away with “kudos”, but not things like “Right on, daddy-O” or “Radical!”. I’m still fond of “groovy” but I’m a Simon and Garfunkel fan, so that’s my excuse. Thanks for the compliments and for reading!

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  36. I just got my first tattoo and I wrote up a guide! Check it out so you will know what to expect. My mom got her first tattoo in her 30s and her latest one a few years ago. They are a great way to express yourself if done right.

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    • I liked your guide and I’m so glad I got referred to a reputable tattoo artist. Still nervous and not excited about molting. Sounds like I’ll need to skip taekwondo the following night. Thanks for the info!

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    • That’s the way things always end up, though. Something you think is a big deal fades in the future. I’m just going to appreciate it as my own little adventure in this moment.

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    • Not sure – I’ve sent the design idea to the tattoo artist, so I haven’t seen the final work yet. Will post down the road.

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  37. Well, I can think of a thousands ways of achieving what you want other than a tattoo, but….whatever rocks your boat! LOL

    Sorry, I’m not a big fan of tattoos (but at the same time, I’ve done two posts about it! πŸ˜‰ I guess I like seeing some of them in another person’s body, but not on mine πŸ˜› Feel free to check them if you want…you might even find some ideas there for yours! http://janusaureus.wordpress.com/2012/02/18/tatuagens-femininas/ and http://janusaureus.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/tatuagens-tattoos/), I think their permanent character ruins a pretty cool body (even if you think your body sucks, I think every body is a nice body! I’ve noticed that when I had a friend with the nastiest skin disease EVER…it took her over a year to heal, and then I learned how to appreciate every little inch of my skin, however imperfect I might find it), and it gives me a sense of childish doodle, you know? As if one’s body were a draft to be written all over…but then the draft is permanent…meh…that’s why I prefer henna, you can do something and then erase it and start over.

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  38. Congratulations! My mom got her first tattoo when she was 51. She insisted that we get matching tattoos on our vacation to cement our already freakishly close relationship. We knew what we wanted before we got there, I did the research to find a reputable shop and artist, and we made our appointment shortly after checking into our hotel. Now, we are forever linked by a great vacation and ink that is uniquely us. I hope your experience is as rewarding as hers was. And who knows, maybe you won’t stop at just one? πŸ™‚

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    • That is a great story – I love to hear about wonderful mother-daughter relationships. I’ll be honest, I tend to do things just once and then try to figure out the next challenge, but my friends who do have tattoos say it can be quite addictive and have gone back for more. Thanks for reading!

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  39. Love this post.
    I have five tattoos executed during six sittings, granted I’m a little over half your age, but I really do feel that getting a properly executed, really well thought out tattoo is a beautiful investment. It’s something for you, something permanent and beautiful.

    I don’t like needles either but I promise its not the same, I still cry when I get shots or blood drawn but I’ve never cried during a tattoo yet. Where were you thinking of getting it?

    Like

    • I’m getting on the inside of my forearm, so that I can see it. The tattoo artist that I was referred to has a great reputation and a beautiful gallery of work. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished picture. Thanks for reading!

      Like

  40. I love this, esp. when you said “moving forward I’m going to be braver and more daring…”
    Like Birgit, my tattoo is running a marathon and joining sports (I’ve never been athletic when I was younger.)
    Again, thank you and keep writing.

    Like

    • Since I’ve been doing taekwondo, running, cycling and weight training for a few years, challenging myself physically has become a part of my daily life. I had to come up with something that scared me a bit more. Thanks for reading! The real marathon for me will be writing another post after all the Freshly Pressed brouhahaha dies down!

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  41. Congratulations on being freshly pressed! I hope your tattoo brings you much happiness, and please put a photo up so we can all check it out.
    I am nearly 24 and currently going through a quarter-life crisis, (how silly that sounds) having recently moved back home with the parents, lost my job, and consequently feel like an adult-child hybrid.
    Maybe I should get a tattoo to mark this stage in my life. But what applies to you when your 23 may not apply in twenty years time, that is my biggest worry…

    Like

    • Thanks for the congrats and I’ll post a pic in a few weeks, when it’s done and healed, etc. I’ve had several “crisis” points in my life as well. I left the Army with no sense of direction and had to live with my mother for a year until I got my bearings. Just think of this time as a great time to get your bearings before moving onto the next adventure. Although for me, no job might put the need for a tattoo on hold (the good ones are kind of expensive!). Hang in there!

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  42. Great post. In my teens my parents called it a “phase”. In my early twenties I went well and truly off the rails. I dabbled with drugs, got tattooed (now have 9). I am winging my way to my forties (2 and a half years and counting). My tattoos are just part of my journey, some have great meaning, others not so. Would I have them removed (never). I look back and have no regrets.

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    • “No Regrets” would make an awesome tattoo! That brings up another interesting point that I’ve run across researching tattoos – this expectation that they must mean something. For me, while the tattoo will have some relevance to my life, it is the act itself that has meaning to me. Thanks for reading!

      Like

  43. Your first few lines openly don’t allow me to read further(I am 21)..but I couldn’t stop myself from reading and hey! I loved your post.Can’t wait to know about your new tattoo!!!:)

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  44. i really love your post, i wish i could do the same way, expressing my feelings and past πŸ™‚

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  45. Well I’m a dude and I thought this article was an excellent read! And gasp, dare I say, I can relate to it as well. Next year I turn the big 4-0 and have a son in High School. I don’t know 90% of the pop singers anymore of today…and don’t care too either. I come from an uber-conservative religious family and getting a tattoo would be taboo. But life is a journey and each decade of life we learn more about ourselves.

    Like

    • Dudes are always welcome here. I’ll put up a caveat before my blog about menopause. I found myself sounding like my grandpa when I said to my daughter that “all the singers using auto-tuners sound the same”. Then I hitched my pants up to my neck, plucked a hair out of my ear and yelled at the whippersnappers in my front yard. You get the gist. The tattoo is taboo in my head, which is why that’s the “rule” I wanted to break. It’s something different for everyone. Thanks for reading!

      Like

  46. Congrats on being Fressly Pressed! I really enjoyed reading this post and look forward to seeing more. Hopefully you will post a picture of the tattoo when you get it πŸ™‚

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  47. I’m 29 and got my first tattoo at 19. It’s small and generic but I love it. It was a rite of passage for me. I think you’ll love your tat when you get it. Just be careful b/c it’s easy to get hooked. I had a boss who didn’t get her first tattoo until her 55th b’day. She now, 10 years later, has six tattoos. Congrats on deciding on your permanant mark!

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  48. Love your thoughts and good for you!
    I have always wanted a tattoo since I was 18. When I was 40 (and divorced), I talked to artists, gone with friends, and just couldn’t commit to anything as I like to change directions regularly with the attention span of a gnat.
    I will revisit the tatoo idea at 60. Mabye a commitment then won’t seem so daunting.

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    • I spent about a year thinking about it, but I tend to have a do or die mentality, so there’s no question there will be a result. But, much like your gnat span, I’ll want to move onto the next challenge. One tattoo should do the trick. Thanks for reading!

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  49. Congrats on Fresh Press; pretty grand, eh? I guess I’m at mid life (assuming there’s as many years to go as have gone) and was thinking of a tattoo. But I can’t be the same person for more than one day at a time, so I’ve been using temporary tattoos. Way too much fun. Sometimes I use them like jewelry (and I confess to trying to annoy my boss with them). I could have written several of the comments above: being in corporate is like being the queen held prisoner in the tower; being braver and more daring — yes!; the status quo makes me scream. Who’s for getting out of the spider web with me?

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    • Somebody has to stay in the spider web and catch bugs, or else we’ll all starve. I think the trick is leaving the spider web on occasion to see the world. This analogy is giving me the creeps. Thanks for reading and for the congrats! It is pretty grand, but I’m trying to stay focused on the work, since all the attention is fleeting.

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  50. Took me 6 years to figure a tattoo that had meaning for me. I originally was going to get it for my 40th birthday. I was glad I waited and got something meaningful to me.
    Can’t wait to see the pic you post.
    Thanks for sharing.

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  51. I LOVE THIS!!!!! I can SOOOO relate. I did the same thing. Raised the same way, and conservative to the point of prudish and when I was 29 I decided at 30 I wanted my first tattoo. Of course then I thought 30 was old!ha lol! Now I am 41 and have 3. My biggest question was the what will I tell my grandkids. I have 4 grandkids now and I am very proud of my tattoos. They each have a very special meaning. My first picked one actually became my second tattoo as I lost my grandmother a month before my 30th birthday and she raised long stem roses my whole life so I had a long stem rose put on my right shoulder. My 2nd is called a medieval rose and has 5 petals, each representing a stage in a womans life and got it on my 31st birthday. Then between my 31st and 32nd birthdays my life went thru a complete transformation and to symbolise that I had a Celtic butterfly in the grass done across my lower back (hurt like hell). And heres a laugh – had no idea a tat on the lower back is often called a ‘tramp stamp’ until I about smacked a boy for saying it to me! LOL!

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  52. I totally get it! Just make sure you look around and choose a design that you’ll love, in a place where they are artists and have good health practices. Have fun with it!

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  53. Hello again! I read this yesterday but found myself giggling this morning thinking about this line: “This brings me around to how I’ve decided to celebrate my midlife urgency. It’s not a β€œcrisis”, which seems like too much of a commitment.” I felt like I needed to come back and compliment you again on your writing; I love it! I’m 25 but I am having a lot of the same feelings that you described. I was also thinking about getting a tattoo recently, as a sort of statement that I’m not the same little quiet girl I’ve always been. It’s time to get loud and make waves!

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    • Also, don’t worry about replying to this one πŸ˜‰ I know you’ve had a lot going on.

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  54. I studied very carefully before getting my first ink at 45. I have a half sleeve, a shoulder and a start on a leg sleeve – it’s addicting. The thing for me is that it made me love my own skin. I never felt that before, something I look in the mirror and love. Find a great artist and enjoy!

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  55. I also got a tattoo a little later in life. I’d known I wanted one since college but hadn’t figured out what I wanted. A word of advise: If you havn’t heard of emla cream, now’s the time to look it up. It was suggested to me by my artist AFTER I got my tattoo (*shakes fist indignantly*). Supposedly it numbs the skin, and depending on where you’re getting your tat you may want to consider using it.

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  56. The blog, and many of the comments, went a long way in helping me understand why a friend of mine, in her 50s, decided to get a tat. It was a beautiful one on the back of her neck, but it seemed so amazingly out of character for her. I think now I understand, so thank you for that.

    Even more I related to the comments about viewing the world from eyes that have seen much. I can’t believe they’re already re-making the movie Total Recall.

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    • My understanding was that they were making it from the original written story, which the first movie was “loosely” based on. Why that trivia sticks in my head and I can’t locate my car keys is a mystery. I apparently only have Partial Recall. Thanks for reading!

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  57. Loved this! I too decided to get a tattoo, however, mine was due to 20 odd years of failed romances. This was meant to be something personal for me, something that reminded me of my strength and to stay strong. What happened? The tattoo artist spelled it wrong! Typical, my life is a shambles. I intend to blog about my life every step of the way, until I get to the bottom of why I’m so unlucky in love, some of it is hilarious and some of it is just down right awful. Good luck! x

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    • I had to laugh when you said they spelled it wrong. NOW it really has meaning for you and makes a good story. Hang in there!

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  58. Yeah I think so too.. I was born a little late.. >.< Mind you would I have appreciated her the same..?
    9 days that's great.. Any concerns..? I read your not a fan of needles..
    You will be great ❀

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    • Breakfast at Tiffany’s is one of my favorite films of all time. She seemed to be a classy, generous person off-screen as well.
      Since I’ve made my decision to do it, I’m not going to think about it much until I’m there.

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      • That’s a great plan.. I like being in the moment, keeps me out of my head..
        I am heavily tattooed and have Diabetes that I take needles for, neither are remotely similar..

        Yes.. “Ladies”.. It was a classy time..<3

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  60. Good for you! I love this. I’m afraid I’m not hip, either, though right now I’m probably only allowed to be having a quarter-life crisis, if anything. πŸ™‚ That said, while I’ve been pondering a certain tattoo for a few years, I’m not the kind of person who likes making big, permanent decisions – and I’ve been defending my “probably” decision to everyone and anyone.

    “I know I’m super young,” I’ll say, as though teenagers and 20-somethings don’t go out and get tattoos all the time (or make bad decisions in general, but then I’ll hasten to assure you that I’m not one of “those” kids and am really quite responsible), “but I’ve been thinking about this for years, it’s meaningful, I SPEAK Chinese so I actually know what it says, I have a great artist on standby, blah, blah blah…” Like anyone else’s opinion ultimately matters!

    Good for you for going out there and doing it. I love it. πŸ™‚

    Like

    • It felt novel and strange for a while, but now it feels like part of me and I’m really glad I did it. I thought about it for probably a year before I decided to follow through. I believe it’s also okay to have regrettable mistakes, though. And it’s good to know what the characters in a language mean – that’s one piece of advice they always give, since apparently people have been inked with something other than what they intended!

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      • I like that – that it’s okay to have regrettable mistakes. I agree – that’s what makes us who we are, right? At the same time, though, I’d rather not regret a tattoo. πŸ™‚

        There are all sorts of horror stories about getting Chinese or Japanese tattoos and not speaking the language. Part of me also – and I’m not terribly proud of this – disapproves of that. Why would you choose that language or that symbol if you aren’t familiar with it? How is that meaningful? But, some people just like it because they’re pretty – and who am I to judge? πŸ™‚

        That said, my future tattoo artist is Chinese, and verified with me the phrase that I want when I first spoke to him last year. And since I just wrote my entire thesis on the phrase… I think I don’t have to worry about it being “meaningful” to me. πŸ˜›

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        • I had thought about getting Korean characters since I am training in taekwondo, but as you say, it didn’t hold intrinsic meaning for me.

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        • In your case, though, I would have still viewed that as meaningful. I’m picturing the girl who lived on my floor in freshman year who ran around asking everyone if they knew what the Chinese symbol for “butterfly” was.

          But again – it’s art! To each their own. πŸ™‚

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  61. Ha! I wish I had waited until mid-life (read, post-pregnancy-stretch marks). My blue crescent moon tattoo is in an ill-advised location.
    The first time my now-husband saw it, he asked, somewhat aghast, “What IS that?”

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  64. Loved this post, largely due to the fact this week I got my first tattoo (I’m 35) this week. I felt I was moving into a new, significant point in my life. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

    • Congrats! It’s been a year plus with my very visible tattoo and I’m still happy with it. In the scheme of things, it may seem unimportant, but it felt like a milestone for me as well.

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  66. Love it – I’ve thought about getting one forever. Once I got drunk enough to go to a tattoo parlor in San Francisco, which you got to by walking through a dark bar where nobody spoke English (or at least pretended not to) and then going through a small door in the back and up some stairs. Although I had called ahead, the door was locked and everybody pretended they couldn’t understand what I was asking about. I think they thought I was a narc, and thank God I did not get a tattoo in the mid-eighties in a dark alley of S.F. I may still take the plunge someday. You inspire me.

    Like

    • I’ve had it for 2 years now and am finally getting over being self-conscious about it. My action was bolder than my mind was prepared to deal with. I’m still glad I got it. In my eyes, it still looks pretty and represents what is most important to me (family, personal growth, gardening), so no regrets. I was fortunate to get a referral to a nice place.

      Liked by 1 person

  67. While I am still tattoo adverse, in my fading years (nearly finishing my sixth decade) I keep tossing the idea of getting something pierced. There is no understandable reason for this idea, I don’t wear a watch, much less jewelry, but occasionally putting a hole in my ear seems like a good idea. A long repressed final rebellion against my midwest upbringing when my parents waited too long for me to have enjoyed the ’60s in style, I guess.
    Maybe, we’ll see…
    Congrats on getting it done.
    Phred

    Like

    • Thanks. It really was something out of the norm for me. I don’t wear jewelry or have pierced anything. I’m glad I did it and it was just a little bit of rebellion from, as you say, a midwest upbringing. It still amuses me in the summer when people I know see it for the first time – there is something fun about shaking people out of their assumptions.

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