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Tit for Tat

While entering the post office the other day, I noticed an elderly woman leaving.  She was wearing shorts and a cotton top.  Her hair was curly gray.  If I had to guess, I would put her in her 70’s.  She had a tattoo on her ankle.  I remember thinking to myself, never have I seen anything look more displaced in my life.  It was like a tree protruding from a billboard.  It simply did not look as though it belonged there. What the tattoo was is not relevant.  In fact, I didn’t get a close enough look to know what it was.  But it just looked WRONG. 

My entire life I wanted a tattoo.  It was not until I was in my 40’s that I finally was able to decide on what.  It came to me like a thunderbolt – bam – a lion. This makes perfect sense.  I could not wait to have someone adorn me with this symbol.  I got it on my ankle AND I loved it, so much so that a few years later I got another one.  This time, I opted for a larger one across my lower back.  It was not until I got home and showed my children (then grown adults) to which one blurted out, “Mom – you got a tramp stamp?”

Well, I never knew that is what they were called – but I had it so, yes.  I loved them both.  I loved what they represented even more than I loved what I had chosen.  The second was a Phoenix rising from the flames.  Both times, the artist did a very nice job.   In another few years I found myself getting a third.  This time, a Dolphin – to remind me of my time on the Gulf Oil Spill (as if I would need a reminder).  This is the smallest of the three and is located on my neck behind my ear, so it is not necessarily noticeable unless I want it to be. 

Never once did I envision what any of them would look like as I enter my golden years.  My skin taking on that crepe quality.  My tan faded and gone.  All I knew was that I wanted them as a sign of what I had been through or overcome. 

First, it was 40 is the new 30.  Then it was 50 is the new 40.  I have heard that 60 is the new 50.  Well, having hit all three I can tell you with assurance that 40 is 40, 50 is 50 and 60 is 60.  All those slogans meant is that we make it up as we go along.  My generation does not want to age.  We want our youth.  Yes, many of us keep in shape and by comparison to our mothers and grandmothers, we are in better shape than they were.  But 60 is still 60.

Am I sorry I did it?  Not at all.  But seeing that woman made me realize just how different things are as we enter our latter years.  

I applaud ol’ girl for strutting her tattoo.  I trust hers mean as much to her as mine do to me.  I write this as a cautionary tale to all those younger folks who see us out with our tattoos getting old right along with us.  It represents a time gone by that we remember fondly, and we embrace that time as much as we do our time now.  Your time will come.

R-O-A-R!!!!

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4 Comments

  1. Felicia on April 18, 2020 at 2:09 pm

    I have pondered the same questions of aging over the years. Yes, we are the physical age on our birth certificate. We can take care of our bodies to the umpteenth degree, but the aging process still happens. We have more knowledge and technology than previous generations to improve our lives. But in the end, gravity wins every time.
    Some people have an ‘old’ mentality even when they are young. Others keep a ‘can don’t mindset’ throughout life that keeps them young in spirit despite their age. I really think it’s all about the choices we make and standards we live by. Those are my thoughts. ?



    • the Roaring Ellie on April 18, 2020 at 3:17 pm

      Great insights Felicia. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. I hope you will continue reading.



  2. Maureen WILTSEE on April 18, 2020 at 11:48 pm

    When we got married, Jim wanted me to get a tattoo. I thought about it for maybe 2 minutes and decided it wasn’t for me. He has 3 of them, on both upper thighs and one big blue eyeball on his back. Our little pet word for things we enjoyed was bear so the thought was I would get a little bear placed somewhere. The other option was a bluebird or butterfly. What changed my mind was the thought of my ever fluctuating weight. Did I want a saggy old bear on my arm or a very well fed one? Then there was the process. Yes, I am a chicken lol. Your story made me rethink my decision. They are the mark(s) of a life lived with determination, zeal, love and fear. A good life.



    • the Roaring Ellie on April 18, 2020 at 11:56 pm

      It’s really interesting how much thought and feeling goes in to selecting a tattoo. People sometimes do not realize. They represent life.
      Thank you for sharing your story with me!