Surely you've had friends who got tattoos and regretted them months or years later. That's not the fate you'd wish for yourself, and it does not have to be! Here are three ways to ensure you get a tattoo you love — and not just right now, but 10 and 20 years down the road, too.
Choose something permanent to honor in your tattoo.
Most tattoos symbolize something or mean something to their wearers, whether their design makes this obvious to others or not. It's important that you choose to honor something that will be as important in your life 10 or 20 years from now as it is today. Your current partner's name might not be the best choice, though if you are married, that's another story. A sport you just started playing and may never play again after a few years is probably not a good choice either. On the other hand, if you have played baseball since you were 6 and know you'll never give it up, then honoring baseball in a tattoo may be a good choice. Ultimately, only you know what will always be important in your life and what is just a passing obsession.
Browse different artists' work.
You might think an artist does good work... until you see another artist's work and realize they could have done a better job of depicting what you want your tattoo to symbolize. Take your time browsing the work of many different artists in the area before you settle on one. And don't be afraid to put yourself on an artist's waiting list and wait a bit longer for your work. The fact that they have a waiting list means their work is in demand.
Ask a few friends for their opinions.
When you have an artist picked out and they have created a design for you, don't get inked right away. Ask a couple of trusted friends what they think of the design. They might say it looks too harsh for your personality or that they don't like the color of the leaves. You can take their feedback or leave it — but it will give you another perspective and things to talk about with your artist before you take the final plunge. Your friends may notice some shortcomings of the tattoo that you don't, and at this stage, there is still time to fix them.
Contact a local tattoo shop for additional advice.