Online Brand Building, Photography and Art by Naina Redhu Hello 40! #40and10in2020

Turning 40 and finally realizing that asking for help is not a weakness. It is pretty much the only way I’m going to grow.

Finally accepting that while it sounds heroic in my head, “I did this myself”, I did not, in fact, do it myself. I had help along the way whether I asked for it or not.

Fellow human beings have put their money where their mouth was : purchased my art ( paintings, brooches, canvas prints ), hired me as a photographer, paid me money to guide them with advice on their brands and business. They have given me the time of day : introduced me to other humans, shared their journey ( whether over lunch / coffee or online ), have been my mentor without even knowing it ( age no bar when it comes to a mentor : I’ve learned a LOT from people much younger than I am ). They have been my friend : spending hours on the phone, listening to me talk about the things that make me feel alive. Sending over beer and pretty things that they know will make happy. Responding to silly TikTok video forwards that made me laugh, which I thought I MUST share with my friends because that had to laugh too. They have been family.

Turning 40 and realizing that I DO HAVE FRIENDS.

Having spent most of my life telling myself that I do not have any friends, this year, ( yes, this mess of a year, 2020 ), I know I do, in fact, have friends. I just never bothered to look closely. Nor did I allow myself to open up enough to accept their friendship. I’ve spent my life believing that maintaining friendships is too much work and not worth my time – after all, I have better things to do. But 2020 has made me realize that I’ve been hanging out with the wrong people. Friends are friends no matter whether you hang out once in 6 months or once a month. The vagaries of life certainly feel more bearable with friends along for the ride.

One of the things that hasn’t changed is how I feel about family.

They have always been there through thick and thin and everything in between. If anything, our bond seems to have grown stronger. Even though we don’t live together, it seems that we’ve never been closer. I ate egg curry and brown rice that my Mom cooked – Dad and Mom drove down to my apartment, delivered fresh rice kheer and aatey ka halwa and the rice & egg curry and while it was absolutely not required, I definitely needed it. Aman & Akanksha delivered beer. I didn’t ask for this kind of family. I sometimes think that I don’t deserve this family ( I’m working on it ). I got lucky with Bharat too. How all these human beings have ended up in my life, I have no idea. I know they will not stay forever, for life is fickle like that. But till the time they are here, so am I.

While I have had help, I am also cognizant of the fact that it was I who did the work that needed to be done.

I work hard and I also believe that I’m lazy. This too, I am working on. Not using my workaholism as an excuse to avoid feeling my feelings and addressing them instead of repressing them.

I am proud of myself for pushing through some of my darkest days. Working crazy hours to see if I could, somehow, convert my dreams into real life. Knowing when to stop when I could see that some dreams just ain’t happening. Letting go, moving on. Onto the next. Always experimenting. I’m a miserably sore loser and I hate failing at anything. Over the years though, thankfully, I’ve realized that running after something that isn’t working, is just a waste of my time. And time is the only thing they don’t make more of. ( This too, while I say it so easily, is something I’m working on – I want to reach a stage where I don’t have to sell my time for money ALL the time. )

Looking ahead, there’s so much more to learn about the world and its people.

So many things I need to do. So many things I need to experiment with and fail at and enjoy. I hope that I will be able to keep the learning spirit alive and well. I hope that I will be able to stay in touch with my friends and devote a healthy amount of time growing with them. I hope that I will be able to see my family more often. Travel with them even ( not looking good as far as 2020 is concerned but hey! a girl can dream! ).

I mean, sure, I could simply drop dead one day – any day. But till then, I got shit to do!

And hey! Buy me a beer!

All photographs are self-portraits on a DSLR. I’m a good photographer AND model hey!

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