This is a self-improvement post. See all here: https://starandlotus.wordpress.com/2016/05/29/self-improvement/
So, it is debatable if tattoos are a self-improvement (definitely my mom would say no), but to me they are a significant means of self-expression, have led to more self-confidence, and provide a creative outlet. Getting one is a cathartic experience, and is more exciting than just about anything else. Right now I have a little over 50 hours of work.
I had started pretty late with tattoos, after my last deployment to Afghanistan. It was successful as far as deployments go and I wanted something to commemorate it. I was 28. Quickly I fell in love with the experience, tattoos are very addicting. I’ve had to pace myself, limit it to once in the fall and once in the spring now, because they can easily cost over $100 per hour. Basically I use them for motivation, they make a great reward for meeting some goal.
After that first one, I’ve picked a style and themes that fit a spiritual structure for me, tied with significant events and influences on my life. Prefer color, and enjoy bolder styles that pop from across the room. Basically I use every opportunity now to wear a tank top.
Tattoos are definitely something that you get what you pay for. Doing your research is important. Some styles age better than others. Also, artists aren’t perfect, and your body morphs with time, so I advise pick a design that doesn’t need to be exact to look good, such as organic things. It works best when you treat your artist as a partner, and go back and forth on the design. Finding someone you can trust, who is professional, is key.
Advice for newbies: start small, not ambitious, and in a location that’s easy to cover up until you’re sure tattoos are for you.