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Don't Regret Your Next Tattoo

Full back tattoo of 1 Corinthians; courtesy of

Full back tattoo of 1 Corinthians; courtesy of

Some common arguments against getting tattooed are, "How do you know you're going to want that there forever? Tattoos are permanent. What if it's just a phase? What if you don't like it 10 years from now? What are you going to do when you're 60 years old and have a tattoo on you?" People may say, "Your body is beautiful just as it is, why would you want to go and ruin it?" And if you're planning on getting a matching tattoo with a friend or lover, forget about it. "Oh my god what if you break up?! What if he/she breaks your heart?! What if you aren't friends 10 years from now?!" Let's debunk these arguments one by one.

"What are you going to do when you're 60 years old and have a tattoo on you?!"

Be 60 years old and have a tattoo.

"How do you know you're going to want that there forever? Tattoos are permanent."

That's true. I don't know that I'm going to want it there forever. But that doesn't matter; I want it there now, today. And by the time I reach old age, God willing, I'll have had the tattoo so long it will have become a part of me.

"What if you don't like that image/phrase/band 10 years from not?"

Now this is the important, so pay attention. You're absolutely right. 10 years from now, I probably won't be listening to the same music or be as obsessed with images of stars as I am now, but the tattoo will be a reminder of the time in my life when I did like those things, a symbol of youth/experimentation/freedom/etc.

"Your body is beautiful just the way it is, why would you want to go and ruin it?"

My body is beautiful, but it won't be any less beautiful if I accentuate it with ink. My body is my temple but it is also a canvas. I can either leave it empty or decorate it.

"What if one day you break up/aren't friends anymore?"

Just because it doesn't last doesn't mean it didn't happen. Maybe we'll last and maybe we won't. I personally have a tattoo—a quote—that I share with two other people, one of whom I am estranged from at the moment and the other I don't speak to at all. For a while after the dissolution of our threesome, I was slightly disturbed by the presence of the tattoo. However, after thinking about it, I soon came to terms with it. There is always a way to rationalize one's feelings or actions in a way that makes sense. When I got that particular tattoo inked onto my skin, I was at an incredible moment in my life. I had reached a long awaited turning point and had never felt healthier or more alive. A breath of fresh air that had previously been polluted. Tattoos cannot just be taken at face value; their meaning is much more extensive. They can represent ideals and ideas as well as being landmarks on our life's journey. It doesn't matter what happens next, it only matters that it happened at all.

My girlfriend Danielle's tattoo says: "if you've never been there, you can't imagine how it feels. and if you have, you can't imagine how it doesn't."  A quote of mine done in my own handwriting.

My girlfriend Danielle's tattoo says: "if you've never been there, you can't imagine how it feels. and if you have, you can't imagine how it doesn't." A quote of mine done in my own handwriting.

When I got my first tattoo at age 18, a tiny black star on my lower stomach, I swore it would be my only one. It hurt and it took a few days to heal, which meant the waistbands around my pants were uncomfortable to wear. But less than a month later, I found myself, almost beyond my control, craving another one. When I got my second tattoo on my lower back, this time I swore that I would only get tattoos that could be easily hidden if I so desired. But the craving kept coming and now I have 13, two of which are completely visible, and another on its way next week. It's absolutely an addiction, but it's the safest one I can imagine. Although it is painful, it's strangely pleasurable at the same time.

A friend of mine once said, "Tattoos shouldn't be gotten by people who think the moment lasts forever, but by those who see forever in all the moments."


NatNatNC from North Carolina on March 06, 2013:

I love tattoos and believe my body is a canvas. I have a close friend that owns a tattoo shop but he was an artist first. I apprenticed for a while and really learned a lot. He takes the time to get to know the person and understands what they are trying to express and comes up with the most amazing pieces. I've watched him do the dreaded COVER UPS as well. I would have never thought some of the pieces he did were cover ups. You can't even tell what they were before. People tell me sometimes that when I'm 80 I'll regret the tattoos that I have, well I honestly don't think at 80 I'll be worrying about my tattoos. I'll be more focused on things like breathing and not peeing my pants! :-)

Bea on November 12, 2010:

I recently got a tattoo and my mother was furious. When she was complaining that my body was a temple, I simply replied "My body is a temple, yes, but it needed re-decorating."

mikeD on July 12, 2010:

well thought out and insightful of tats. I got 2 myself and I know others will judge them and then me but if that's what ur gonna do then you don't need to be my friend.

jared on December 07, 2009:

well said, front to back =]

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devin on July 21, 2009:

(: im really wanting to get my first tattoo. im 19 and a lil scared, but i really want one! i want one that says regret nothing, im not sure where tho. but i want that bcs this is my life motto. everyone around always tells me to stop certain things bcs ill regret them, but in all honest ive never regreted a thing ive done. yeahh i look back and say that it was stupid, but it helped me learn life lessons. and some things ive learned never to do again, and others i have. and this tattoo would mean something to me. and that's what i want. my mom is always saying no yu don't wanna do that cuz when yur my age you'll regret it, BUT! 1, no i wont, and 2, it was a part of my past that i can look back on and remember! thank you (:

Ricky on June 16, 2009:

Hey, just wanted to recommend this great site that did my Arabic tattoo design

ThePioneer21 from Liverpool on February 18, 2009:

tattoos are an amazing form of self expression.

I agree with you completely- even though times change, and so do you, looking a tattoo that was done 10 years previously will remind you of that era in your life, and hopefully bring back some fantastic memories.

Great hub

meg on January 19, 2009:

Thank you for writing this! I have one tattoo that I absolutely love (right below my collar) and a new one that I'm having trouble getting used to, even though it's an image that has a lot of meaning for me. This was encouraging :-)

kate on January 19, 2009:

Love it! i have my husband's name on my wedding finger. soon to be ex-husband. but i don't regret the tattoo at all -- i loved him that much and it's evidence of that love i had/have for him. it became an abusive relationship, so now i'm getting a half-sleeve phoenix on my left bicep - 1st session on wednesday.

i wanted it a year ago, cause that's how i felt about him and my new life with him. ironic that the real ashes i'm resurrecting from are those from our marriage :-(

Ash on February 20, 2008:

Thanks for the arguments :]

Jaclyn Popola (author) from Florida on June 07, 2007:

That's an awesome idea, I was thinking of doing something similar myself. I am obsessed with words. The majority of my tattoos are phrases. I have "i only want now" on my lower back, "wake your dreams" on the back of my neck, and a quote in Polish that means "anything i could desire i already have" going around my upper arm. You should definitely get one.

des donnelly from Co Tyrone.... on June 06, 2007:

thanks for this Cos... I've been thinking about a tatoo for a while and so some of these days... they really are a statement, perhaps i will make a hub with poetry one liners suitable for tattoo...

Ciao Drax

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