What Does “smile Now, Cry Later” Mean in a Tattoo?


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The most common interpretation of “smile now, cry later” tattoos is to live life to the fullest now and worry about the consequences later. Under the image are the words “smile now, cry later” written in cursive.

“Smile now, cry later” tattoos are popular in prisons, implying that inmates should keep their composure while incarcerated and cry after their release. A less common meaning of the tattoo is to commemorate the loss of a loved one. This implies that the wearer should smile now over pleasant memories of the person and cry later over the pain of losing them.

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