I read an article this week about the number of people who regret having tattoos.  Something like one in six wish they had never had theirs done.   One in three wishes they had done it somewhere on their body less visible.   And it reminded me of an article in the Guardian I had read years ago about a mother who had a meltdown when her son had hers.

That article makes me really sad.   To say that her son  “you could not have done anything to hurt me more” is absurd, surely.  A tattoo on his arm, hidden under a shirt or jacket is THE worst thing he could do?  Not push an old granny over for her pension.   Not hold up the corner shop at gun point.   Not joining the BNP.   Not getting a 14 year old pregnant.    But getting a tattoo.   That most of heinous of crimes.

God help if she ever meets me then.   I have a tattoo.   On my arm.  In full view.   No shirt sleeve will cover mine up.

Do I regret it?


Do I fall into that one in six?


I really don’t see the problem with tattoos.  Unless they are on your eyeball (yes, really, such a thing exists).

My son recently came home having been to a tattoo place with his mate.   “Where’s yours?” I asked.   “I didn’t get one” he replied.    If he had, I really wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow.   He is 18.   It’s his body.   I lost any rights to dictating what he does with a long time ago.

Same way he, and nobody else has any right to be shocked about me getting mine aged 35.

Mine is in memory of our two friends, Debbie and Sam, who died in the Tsunami in Thailand.   It is the Chinese symbol for chai.   Chai means Tea of Life in Cantonese.    And this tattoo is to remind me to live my life to the full.     Everyday.   To never forget that this isnt a dress rehearsal.    That tomorrow my life could end as suddenly as Sam and Debbie’s did and I don’t want to regret wasting a day of it.

Tea of life  seemed quite appropriate really as T is my nickname and tea is my favourite thing to talk about on Twitter.   So when I decided I wanted something to remind everyday that I need to live my life it had to be that.

And I couldn’t be more proud of my tattoo if I am honest.

It really saddens me that so many people have taken the time, and the expense, to get a tattoo to then regret it in later life.    So please don’t ever look at mine and think “what the hell did she do that for?”   At 35.   With three kids.

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  • Great piece. I agree entirely that its your body and you have the right to mark it as you wish, as long as you can do that without any regret. I don’t know how I’ll feel if my sons get tattooed but it imagine my attitude will remain the same. Also, they’re only two and a half and 5 days old respectively so that day is some way off!

    I had my tattoo aged 20 but thought about what I wanted and chose a design (a small black heart) that summed up one aspect of my personality. I don’t regret it at all. Since then I have lost my Dad and had two children and am planning tattoos to mark both of those things, but am taking my time to make sure that I end up with the right design.

  • i won’t go into a full blown story here because I’ll publish that on my own blog. I’m in the process of having a half-sleeve done (lower arm). I’m in my 40s, I’m aware of what I’m doing, I’ve thought long and hard about this and have tattoos elsewhere on my body) and if someone judges me because of a bit of ink on my skin then that says more about them than it does about me.

    However, I *do* have an issue with people NOT thinking about what they are inking into their bodies and regretting it later in life. A tattoo is permanent in my eyes and my tattoos each have their own meaning. I’d not remove them for anything. There is one that wasn’t so fantastic but a good tattoo artist sorted that out for me and I’ve fallen back in love with it.

    As for my kids… my husband has had tattoos since I met him and has added to his colletion over the years, my daughter has more tattoos than me, my eldest son is going to get one soon (but has to be careful where he has it because of his Army career) and my youngest can’t wait to be old enough for one. But they all appreciate what a mature decision it is.

    Sorry for my short-long comment but it’s a subject I’m passionate about.

  • I think everything we do represents our experience of life. And no-one really should comment if they don’t appreciate the differences which exist. (My perfect world).
    My brother is an amazingly talented tattooist, and we do laugh about what he’ll be like at 60… but for everything, everything he’s experienced, the amazingly kind and generous brother and uncle he is. Well, what’s to judge? Do I think he’ll regret anything? No, he just learns.
    Me. I got my tattoo at 21, oddly the same day 200 miles away my brother got his first- with no pre-agreement. Mine represents that day, that point in my life. No regrets.

  • That’s a lovely tattoo and a great way to mark a memory and motto – I think if you want a tattoo, you have every right to get one! I’d like to get one done one day, but not really sure what I’d like it to be. As you say, life is for living, why spend it worrying and regrettig what has been when you can focus on the future

  • I want to get one to mark my beautiful kids but I have been worried people would think its a midlife thing (I am joining the 40 club in January) thank you for reminding me that its nothing to do with anyone but me 😀

  • I LOVE tattoos. And I’m with you – they have to mean something, and usually do. I hate how people make judgements on people they know nothing about, based on some ink they don’t understand. I’ve always admired yours. Even more so now xx

  • I love that you are so passionate about your tattoo. Am off to live my day to the full, following your advice as I’m too chicken to have my own tattoo so I’ll live vicariously through yours!