WHEN I decided to be honest about why I was quitting my job, my one big worry was not becoming a gory old head on a pike. I didn't want to scare young women off careers in journalism and/or politics, making them think it was impossible to combine such jobs with families and therefore pointless trying.
One or two of you commenting on this blog and the Twitter feed have now made me worry about that again.
It's similar to the endless hysteria about late motherhood. Warnings from some IVF specialists that women underestimate how difficult it may be to get pregnant in their late 30s were well meant, and reflect their experience of seeing an awful lot of women desperate to conceive.
But the resulting media furore over "career women" delaying motherhood (why always "career women"? do men have nothing to do with it?) risks unnecessarily panicking women into thinking that if they're not pregnant by 30 they are doomed, when for a sizeable proportion it all works out fine.
So to canopenergirl (with your amazing sounding life among the gun-crazed generals - are you a journalist, or a mercenary?) and others , I just want to say: it's always, always worth a try. Better a few years of a fabulously exciting career than a lifetime of boredom, even if the exciting bit has to change after children (and it doesn't always: it didn't stop CNN's Christiane Annanpour, or the war reporter Christina Lamb).
Wing it for a bit and see what happens: if it doesn't work out, you can always do something more manageable, but if you don't try then you'll always wonder. Work culture is still changing, and by the time current graduates hit the childbearing years things could look very different.
But (and this is a point another poster, Louise, made rather well) I do wonder what my generation of women could tell their teenage daughters - and indeed sons - that would make it easier for them to do the work/family thing.
I can't pretend I planned either of these, but with hindsight two things that accidentally helped me were picking a career that's adaptable (writing can be done in a newsroom/at home/fulltime/parttime/ and is useful in a lot of different jobs); and marrying someone who didn't have fixed ideas about what I "should" be doing.
But I now wish I'd blown less money on vodka and cabs in my childless 20s, and put more aside for financially lean years now. (Not sure how I would have convinced my twentysomething self of this, but anyway).
So what do you wish you'd known at 18?