Mid-life Crisis?

I love the drive to work. It’s a peaceful 20 minutes alone which allows me to change gears between the world of family and the world of work.

My mind attends to all sorts of business throughout this journey, from composing a shopping list to dreaming about the fabulous career I’ll have after I (eventually) enrol to do my masters in communications part-time.

Side note: this also seems to be a very productive time for coming up with ideas for blog posts. These days I’m often found in the carpark at work madly jabbing at my iPhone to try and get these ideas down in Evernote before they fly off into the ether.

But today I had a bit of a mini-revelation.

I’ve been thinking for a while that I’d like to get a tattoo. Actually I’ve always been interested getting a tattoo but a combination of inertia and a vague sense that it might end up being more of a hassle than I was prepared to accept held me back.

Anyway this morning I was thinking about how I’d really like something pretty and decorative on my shoulder. Maybe a pattern, or maybe something like this which is my current favourite…

Pretty peacock <3

Pretty peacock ❀

Almost immediately all my sensible thoughts woke up inside my brain and started sending messages like….

The Sensible Thoughts

The Sensible Thoughts

“Aren’t you too old to get a tattoo? Will people think you’re in the first stages of a mid-life crisis”


“I’ve heard people refer to tattoos as ‘tramp stamps’ recently. I definitely don’t want to look trampy – is this what people will think?”

Luckily the feisty Ms Bad-ass , leader of all the NON-sensible thoughts, woke up around then and shut down most of those sensible thoughts with a well-timed “Do you really give a fuck what anyone else thinks?”.

Thanks goodness for Ms Bad-ass!

Thanks goodness for Ms Bad-ass!

But the thought I couldn’t get away from was….

“You’ll have to make sure it doesn’t show for work”

This immediately brought up a mental image of one of the ladies I work with who has a large tattoo on her back which is clearly visible when she wears sleeveless dresses. She’s very conscious of keeping it covered up, although I haven’t worked there long enough to know don’t know whether this is her decision or whether it’s part of some dress-code that I don’t know about.

Either way the result is the same – having her tattoo on show will negatively affect people’s perception of her.

And suddenly it hit me…


The impact of this one thought was so profound that it felt like a mushroom cloud had exploded inside my brain. Thankfully I was pulling up to a red light when this happened because I otherwise I am certain I would have careened off into the guard rail.

So where does this road-side revelation leave me?

Well it’s made me realise firstly that about 10 years ago when I decided what my definition of success was I defined it very narrowly indeed. Corporate job, decent dollars, promotions and a tan leather Louis Vuitton briefcase (I don’t actually have the LV briefcase but it HAS always been on the list).

And it’s made me think about options – are their other kinds of success that might fit me better these days? So while I’m not rushing out to make any major changes to my job or my life at this stage, I do feel like I’m awake now after being asleep for quite a while.

So watch this space! In the meantime I’m going to give some more thought to getting that tattoo after all…

Ms Bad-ass teaches The Sensible Thoughts who's boss...

Ms Bad-ass teaches The Sensible Thoughts who’s boss…

42 comments on “Mid-life Crisis?

  1. lyndal says:

    i, myself have a few tatts.. and there are a few that, well i kinda can’t cover up (my wrist comes straight to mind!!!) the interesting thing is though, a lot of people don’t notice them (my boss didn’t see it for a good four months when he started and asked if i had gotten it that weekend… err no) so it also makes me wonder if the self conscious thing is exactly that, and if anyone else really gives a rats…!!

  2. oh! I have no tattoos.. but have always dreamed of one.. I don’t want one showing (my parents would disown me) but I do want something special… maybe for my 70th birthday LOL by then I will have the courage of facing the needle!

    #teamIBOT was here!

  3. Stuart says:

    if anyone tells you they don’t hurt……they are dirty f#ck%#g liars

    • Rachel says:

      Well, well, here’s an unexpected visitor πŸ˜‰ I’d be interested to hear what & where you got yours done… Do you still like it or do you regret it?

      • Stuart says:

        Loving the blog Rachel. Always had you pegged as a wordsmith, glad to see this coming to fruition and fascinated to find out what else it might lead to πŸ˜‰
        I have Dads initials on my chest under my left arm. Not huge, but not small either, and slightly elaborate (see; frilly).
        When Dad died he was cremated in Perth and his ashes scattered at the beach. I couldn’t be there when his ashes were scattered, also Perth seems so far away. The ink was my way of visiting Dad when there was no tangible grave site. Seems overly simple, but the tat was a really important part of my progressing on after I lost Dad. I instantly felt relief, and I think that if I had not been inked I would now regret it – it still gives me strength and I still like it five years on.
        As to pain – I didn’t expect it to be sore. The wife came with me and held my hand, firstly ’cause she’s the boss and has the ultimate say over defiling my body. But in my mind, obviously she would be very impressed at my lack of reaction to the pain of getting inked. This backfired somewhat with the stunningly colourful languaged that seemed to come out of nowhere, plus or minus the odd (alleged) tear (emotion induced I would attest, although inconveniently coinciding well with each time they hit a rib).

      • Rachel says:

        That’s interesting because I recently found out that my colleague also got her tattoo after she lost her Dad about 5 years ago, and that this had been an essential part of her moving through the grief. It’s part of what inspired the post – it just seemed wrong that she felt the need to cover something that had such significance to her simply becuase of other people’s perceptions (or what she anticipated their perceptions might be).
        And I laughed at your plan to impress the Mrs with a show of your manly man-ness. I would have thought with your “resources” you would have done some pre-preparation πŸ™‚ ?

      • Stuart says:

        Hi again Rachel. Just wanted to add; I think that the pain is part of earning the tattoo, and enhances any pride experienced on showing it to others, if this is your “thing”. I know there are similar arguments (good and bad) for natural child birth.
        From an anaesthetists perspective, it’s really not slow, aching “c-fiber” pain for which traditional anaelgesia works. Rather It’s short, sharp pain which is rapidly gone. Thefore, post-tat pain is minimal. Peri-tat pain is more the problem and short of epdural/spinal or full GA/deep sedation would be difficult to alleviate (a mate of mine was actually considering this as a career option before scoring a PAH consultancy job). I’ll give you mates rates Rache, but like most gym junkies would say; feel the burn. Any of my “resources” for these purposes I’m sure would be purely recrerational.
        As an aside, I reckon the “gold standard” tramp stamp is the fairy Tat just above the sacrum (plumber’s crack).
        Anyway, I reckon you need to follow your instincts Rachel and enjoy every moment. Can’t wait it see your ink, I’m sure I’ll show you mine too once you publish yours on your blog.

      • Stuart says:

        (nice….recreational came out as recrerational – serves me right for typing on my iPad. Still, full of irony and stuff, and what an awesome name that would be for a book!!!)

  4. What a great post Rachel -I have a tattoo, it’s just for me, no one can see it – not even when I’m wearing a bikini – I say do what you want, those who judge others are narrow minded and not worth worrying about. And I’m with Stuart – PAIN – although not as bad as drug-free child birth πŸ™‚

  5. Eve Adams says:

    I loooove tattoos, tattoos are HOT! They’re art, a form of self expression, and you’re right, maybe you’d prefer a less judgemental workplace. Do it. You only live once. πŸ˜‰

    • Rachel says:

      Yes!! That’s exactly what I think. Tattoos appeal to me from a artistic prspective and the idea of decoration or adornment is tempting. Thanks for your vote of confidence πŸ˜‰

  6. I have a small tattoo which I kind of love, and I’d be keen to get another but Boatman isn’t a fan.
    I think that peacock is gorgeous by the way.
    And did you do these graphics yourself? They are flipping awesome!!!

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Jess. My Mr is also rather ambivalent but I think as long as I include him in the process he’ll come around. I love the peacock too but it’s only one heaps that I like so it will be quite a tough decision in the end.

      And yes all the graphics are mine – I’m glad you like them! They take me ages but I love doing them. Sometimes I get an idea in my head and it just won’t leave me alone until I either write it or do SOMETHING to get it out. This was one of those times πŸ™‚

    • Rachel says:

      PS Apologies for not getting my act together sufficiently to put a link to you or the IBOT button on this post! Next time for sure πŸ™‚

  7. Carla says:

    I love tattoos as well. I often think about getting one but my problem is that I am fickle and what I like today I think I will probably hate in 12 months time. I’m not sure I could settle on a design unless it was to commemorate someone or something!!

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Carla! Yep I’m this has also been weighing on my mind which I why I’m taking sooooo long to decide on a design. Especially since for me this would be purely decorative rather than commemorative reasons. I’ve actually been really surprised that so many people DO get one for commemorative reasons do I’ve learnt something already!

  8. Kim says:

    Great to meet your blog Rachel! I think we may be in co-crisis…. I just turned 35 and wrote about my own mid-life mountain. I thought this happened at 40!? I’ve been contemplating a tatt for the last few years too, but my conditions for me is nowhere that sags (cos I’ll have to face it when I’m 70) or can’t be hidden. I’ve changed so much over the last 15 years, and I don’t know if I might change a whole lot more over the next 15. That said – I think that peacock is STUNNING. so beautiful. Keep us posted. If you do it, PICS!

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Kim – thank you so much for visiting! Glad I’m not the only one in mid-life crisis-land. The sagging issue is something I hadn’t considered but you are SO right about that! The peacock has been at the top of my list of designs for a while so I could be getting closer to a decision. But then I’ll have to find someone capable of re-creating it which would eb the next step. But I’ll definitely post pics if/when I do xx

  9. Wow, how exciting to have this sort of epiphany! I’ve considered tattoos at different times but I don’t trust myself to choose something I’d still like in 20 years’s time. I opted for piercings at one point as a mini-rebellion but I become self conscious about the facial one as soon as I left uni for a ‘proper job’. No one ever told me to take it out, mind you, but I felt that people were judging me. Funny how worried we all get about what other people think! Best of luck finding your path from here πŸ™‚

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Lara! yes it is exciting but at least I’m (finally) old enough to take a calm, considered approach to any potential changes rather than thinking everything has to change immediately. I have also been very much in pursuit of bigger and better “proper jobs” so it’s been quite mind-expanding for me to think that anything else might make me happy!

  10. robomum says:

    Love the images!! Sometimes I think of my thoughts like that too.

    I don’t have any tattoos so I can’t speak from experience but why don’t you start with something small that you can add to? That way if it’s not totally for you you can cover it up/remove it…

    • Rachel says:

      I can see that – I’ve just been to your About page. Go Will Robinson lol. I make the images out of auto-shapes in Powerpoint because I too am time-poor (no time to learn Adobe Illustrator) as well as being actually poor (to buy the requisite Macbook). Thanks for visiting πŸ™‚

  11. Thea says:

    Don’t you love a good thought process and A-ha moments!!

    • Rachel says:

      I do Thea! I think it must be becuase my little ones are getting a bit older and I do now occasionally have the time to have a complete thought process uninterrupted!!

  12. Loving the visualised idea pics and your thought processes- don’t sweat the Tramp Stamp terminology- that refers specifically to the rather largish, elaborate designs on a woman’s lower back just above the buttocks ;). Go for it and probably go for it after a drink or two to numb the pain!

    • Rachel says:

      Thank you Ms Twitchy! The pics are fun to do. And also thanks for clearing up about the tramp stamp terminology – I can’t even remember where I heard it but it stuck in my head. I’ll take your advice about the drinks too – I can’t think of many situations that aren’t improved by a wine or 2 πŸ˜‰

  13. Zanni Arnot says:

    Gorgeous Rachel! I love the peacock…And I love your little images. Too cute. I got a tattoo when I was 16, on my hip. It’s so discreet, it’s barely visible, and it really is something I never see and literally never think about. But I have fantasised about something gorgeous and dramatic like that peacock. I’d be worried about my skin changing though, over the years, and the tattoo warping. But you are right about the work thing! Nice revelation. Zanni @ Heart Mama x

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Zanni! Thank you for visiting – I’ve been to your blog many times and am always inspired by your gentle approach to parenting. Yes it has been an interesting time. The sagging issue us something I’ve been thinking about but I think my planned spot (the shoulder blade) is less prone to this than other parts! And you’re spot on when you mentioned that the peacock was dramatic. I think that’s part of what attracts me to it – the idea of being brave enough to make such a big statement is both alluring & terrifying in equal measure!

  14. Mr 18 got one & said it is excruciating pain – that’s enough to put me off πŸ˜‰

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Janet! Hmmm this pain issue keeps coming up an to be honest it’s probably the one thing I haven’t really given a lot of thought to. How did you feel about your son getting one? I’d be interested to know..,

  15. Bachelormum says:

    Hi Rachel I used to toy with the idea of getting a tattoo but I just couldn’t live with one I,age to sum me up so I gave up trying to pick one. I love epiphanies like this. Stay still for some time. Just let you heart and mind rest and I’m sure you will get some fab insight into what it is that will make your life sing in the next chapter. Good luck

    • Rachel says:

      Hello! Thank you for your comments. That’s is exactly what my instinct is telling me to do. I really feel like I need to jus sit with the feeling for a bit. The tattoo is an outward manifestation – it’s important as a signal of change, but the life changes will eventually be deeper and have longer effects so I must proceed gently. I appreciate your advice and your visit xx

  16. mamagrace71 says:

    Yessss! Love it!!! And it’s so true: why work in a place if having a tattoo is such a big deal? I was in an office job where most of the people there did not think like me. I was miserable!
    Life’s too short! Go for that amazing tattoo!!!

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Grace! Thanks for the vote of confidence – it is beautiful isn’t it? It was a really liberating moment for me once I realised that there could be other options in my future. The thought of new possibilities (even if it’s not right now) is exciting πŸ™‚

  17. […] some of you may have read in this post I’ve recently commenced my mid-life […]

  18. Oculus Mundi says:

    I’ve been thinking about a tattoo for a while now. But I don’t want anything too pretty. Nor do I want a flaming skull πŸ˜€ The main reason I haven’t done it yet is I have never seen anything I really want to live with. It will probably end up being something Celtic.

    • Rachel says:

      Yes I seem to be in the minority that I’m not necessarily looking for something that has great emotional significance. What I really want is something that pleases my aesthetic and will continue to make me happy each time I look at it. I love Celtic symbols to – again they are not too girly but beautiful from a pure design perspective.

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