Girl Talk: Reflections on turning 30 (and why I'm no Kate Moss)

Girl Talk: Reflections on turning 30 (and why I'm no Kate Moss)

When Kate Moss turned 30 in 2004, she ushered in the new decade with a lavish party based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and the Damned, a decadent tale set in the 1920s full of sex, drugs and orgies. Her party guests – including Naomi Campbell, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sam Taylor-Wood and Stella McCartney – brought along bags bearing the names Tiffany, Cartier, De Beers, Bulgari, Agent Provocateur and D&G, and the birthday girl wore a sequinned dress, her hair in tight curls and her signature smokey eye.

My 30th birthday was a little different. 

The party was dinner at my favourite Malaysian restaurant at Burleigh Beach, I wore Country Road and Zara and my hair in a ponytail, the gift bags were labelled Pandora, Myer, Typo and Prouds, and the guests included my adorable nieces and nephew, two BFFs and husband's family. There was dancing – in the car, before Husband pulled out his bung knee – but no drugs or orgies.

It was short, understated and sweet.

There was a small part of me – the spoilt brat who rears her ugly head when my mind ventures to compare my current status with that of the girl I left behind when I moved away from Sydney (and those celebrities and stylish superwomen we read about in the glossy magazines) – who was disgruntled that a bigger fuss was not made of the occasion, and dismayed at my own lameness at not having planned an amazing do (are those violins playing?).

But my self-indulgent inner princess was tempered and humbled as I took stock of my blessings and gave myself a mental slap across the face. Because when the party's over, I have a home, a gorgeous husband, a faith in God, a loving family, work I enjoy and more lovely things than most. 

Reading about how Michelle Williams celebrated her 30th in madison – a day with Matilda – was another reminder that there's no prescription for marking the transition into your third (fourth?) decade. It really just has to be true to whoever you are and where you're at in life.

The night Husband and I got engaged, we returned home to pack avocados in a shed with his parents. That singular event was a glimpse of what was to come in my life. When we returned home the day after my 30th, which happened also to be my father-in-laws' 60th birthday, Husband and I cleaned the house (my in-laws, bless 'em, chipped in) and then settled in for an afternoon nap before watching A Christmas Carol.

My ghost of Christmas past – that Sydney party girl who cared more for clothes, her figure and her work than the simple pleasures of family and cuddles on the couch – is not commensurate with the girl I am now, just as much as the girl I am now still has a lot of work to do before she can confidently say she's no longer selfish, or self-conscious, nor experiencing silly pangs for a glossy fantasy life that wouldn't satisfy her anyway. 

In the words of Madonna, "When you're trying hard to be your best, could you be a little less? Do you know what it feels like for a girl... in this world?". There's only room for one Kate Moss in the world. So, now, a little older and wiser, it's on with the Girl With a Satchel show... 

Girl With a Satchel's Core Values

GWAS is not perfect, often giving into material temptations (oh, the pretty things) and partaking in the superficial pursuits espoused by the glossies (counting calories, celebrity gossip, coveting ChloƩ shoes...), but she's confident that a life lived by glossy standards alone is a miserable one.

To that end, GWAS chooses to live by faith and God's grace, seeking His approval and embracing the teachings of Jesus Christ, who valued peace, joy, humility, gentleness, sacrifice, kindness, submission, honesty and self control. It's not easy being green, as Kermie would concede, but a girl (with a satchel) has gotta believe in something. 

And for those who find themselves single and 30 (which, believe me, some days I wish I were!) a post of encouraging words c/o Joy Argow... not that coupledom or marriage need be the end goal, of course (Paul recommends perpetual singlehood, and devotion to God, in the Bible!).

Yours truly,
Girl With a Satchel


BushBelles said...

Love your post. Are you are a rural girl now or just not in Sydney? I am back in the country after years in Sydney and love it.

katiecrackernuts said...

Well happy birthday Ms Erica. I loved / love the 30s. Best decade yet. You'll see.

Gypsy said...

I love this! So inspiring. Very happy for you, God bless you x

Laura Preston said...

Congrats Erica, sounds like you're in a great place. I'm sure there are many glossy girls back in Sydney wishing for what you have. xx

Lizzie said...

Happy Birthday Erica!! It really is the beginning of it all! And you're ready for all the amazing things in your own grounded way. :)

Sophia said...

Hope you had a Happy birthday Erica! :)I wish I'll be as grounded as you when I turn 30 x

Niki said...

Happy Birthday! This was a great post which resonated with me, not because I am turning thirty anytime soon (in fact I just turned 20), but because I'm beginning to wonder where it is I want to go in life and my career and whether this clashes with my values or may burden other areas of my life. It's so easy to pine for the "glamourous" jobs, but I often wonder whether these would be fulfilling, given the sacrifices. I suppose we must learn from our experiences and strive for balance.

Anonymous said...

this is such an encouraging post. i too have problems with comparing myself to people who are loaded with money; those who can go to parties and have sex with a lot of people.
i'm currently trying to be happy for my place now, and now that i've read your post, i feel inspired, and relieved.

"It really just has to be true to whoever you are and where you're at in life."
thank you so much Erica. you're such an amazing woman. God bless you. i wish there are more true Christians like you in this world.

Serena said...

A grounding and inspiring post. Having celebrated by 30th earlier this year I can completely relate. Funny thing is I had the glitzy party only to think after I wish I had done something more real, genuine and heartfelt. Ahhh - finding that elusive balance of peace & happiness!!
Happy Birthday!

SeriouslySilly said...

Happy Birthday Erica!

Loved this post (entire blog) and can totally relate to the struggle of wanting material things and just being appreciative of simple blessings.

On another note, the Joy Argow link doesn't seem to be available. Any way/anywhere I can still read it?

SeriouslySilly said...

I spoke (Commented) too soon.. Sorry Google for doubting you.

Here is the link for anyone else who wants to read:

Erica Bartle (nee Holburn) said...

Ladies, thank you for the humbling messages. But for the grace of God that I even made it to my 30th - and a miracle that I get to share it.
And thank you, Silly Sally, for the fresh (and active) link!
Erica :)

Scarlett Harris said...

Happy Birthday Erica!

Jo said...

Erica, I just adore you and your blog! Congratulations on your 30th birthday, you have a lot to be proud of :)

*thisdaisy said...

Oh, Erica. Thank you for such a wonderful and heartfelt post. A very happy and blessed birthday to you, and thank you for being such a sincere and beautiful woman of God who continues to inspire young women today. Much love and well wishes! Julia x

*thisdaisy said...

**belated birthday.

I can't believe I missed this post in December! x