The reaction from people I've told so far has ranged from "DUDE!!!" to "Uh-Uh. Mid-life crisis!" but I don't care. I had good reasons and it's something I've been wanting to do for years anyway.
The difference between having a tattoo done at my advanced age, as opposed to when I was younger and more impulsive, is that I did my research first. The tattoo parlor I eventually chose - based in my family's home town of Fresno California - came highly recommended and is about as respectable as it gets... if such a word can ever be applied to this type of establishment. Plus my dad rather sweetly called them up to quiz them about their sterilization methods once I'd reluctantly confessed to him what I was up to that morning (some things never change, whatever age you are).
It's not a big tattoo. In fact, hard-core tattoo aficionados would probably consider it to be a bit lame - the whole thing took a total of 6 minutes and hurt considerably less than a bikini wax (*shudder*).
My new tattoo is a very simple outline of a star positioned on the small of my back (which means if I go off it at any point I can ignore it with minimal difficulty). It is meant to remind me that in the great scheme of things any problems I have are exceedingly trivial, it's to mark the fact that this has been a year of important lessons learnt and it also seemed somehow apt to have a permanent star etched on my back at a time when my grandfather's star is about to go out.
And, if I'm to be entirely honest, it's probably also a two-fingered salute to growing old gracefully. And hurrah to that.