I was a bit embarrassed to admit that while career-wise I still didn't have the faintest notion, I was pretty sure that by the time I was 30 I would like to be married with a kid or two. In the same way that some women know without a doubt that they are not cut out for having children, I've always known that given half a chance, I would be.
So much for long courtships: ours was almost like something out of Anne of Avonlea. (If I remember rightly, she described a couple who had been steppin' out for 20 years.) That night in Blackrock I had been seeing B a couple of months and then he'd headed off to Boston for his summer o' fun/hard work. I didn't presume to think he might be the shadowy figure in the "husband" spot of that particular aspiration. (At least, not out loud. Not even out loud in my head. But I was pining quite badly that July.)
It's not as if I spent my 20s wondering when I'd get my babies; I spent them alternately getting back together with and breaking up with B (usually for reasons of geographical incompatability rather than anything else) and flirting with the notion of going out with other people - mostly flirting and minimally going out - and getting my degree and my pointless postgrad and something that could pass for a career, not just a job. There was one day when I was 26 when I looked in the mirror and found a grey hair, and thought, "You'd better hurry up and marry me before I have to dye my hair for the wedding."
But he's a cautious man, my husband, and the time and place weren't right yet. I thought it would be good to be married by 30. I was engaged when I was 30, so that was okay. I decided it would be nice to have had all my babies by the time I was 35. This was later amended to 37, if I wanted three.
It just occurred to me that to keep to my self-imposed and totally arbitrary timetable, I need to get pregnant again next month. I think that's not very likely to happen. If I never get pregnant again I'll actually have (almost) complied with the initial goal of 35. None of it matters in the slightest, except that as a child of older parents I would rather be younger. (I was a bit traumatized when I discovered at 14 or so that my dad was actually 57 already. But most of my friends' parents had probably started in their 20s. These days most people I know are having babies in their 30s, so I'm right there in average-land, which is all a kid ever wants of his family.)
Maybe I should have some sort of new self-imposed deadline for something or other. Publish by 50, perhaps? That gives me a nice long time to figure out what else I want to do now that my erstwhile life's ambition is, if not accomplished, at least under way.