“Gamble on yourself. I’d gamble on you.”

If you asked me whether I thought a quote from Modern Family would ever be the inspiration for a blog post, I probably would’ve said no, except if it was just hilarious and absurd and part of a “this made me laugh” conversation. (Or in reference to Cam’s “sleepclowning,” which made my childhood nightmares come true this week.)

But this week, there was a moment between Jay and Phil, which, if you watch the show, you know is a big deal.

Not from this episode, but another Jay/Phil moment.

The following conversation occurred as Phil was trying to decide whether to leave his steady job to become a partner at a new firm:

Jay: “Do you want this?”

Phil: “Yes.”

Jay: “Then gamble on yourself. I’d gamble on you.”

Cue tears. Maybe this is a message we are all waiting for, or one that we’ve been too stubborn to hear.

We’re waiting for the approval from our loved ones to take the risk, to make the leap, to double down on that hand on that big, hairy, scary dream of ours.

To accept that while failure is a possibility, we will be the better for it in the long run. We will learn from it. We will know better next time. And even if we do fail, our support systems will still love us. We are so conditioned to think that failure is the end, but really, it’s just the beginning. It’s the beginning of figuring out a new solution, a new path, a new adventure. If we succeeded at everything all the time… damn, that life would be boring, right? Probably rich and lucrative, but boring nonetheless.

When you go to Vegas, sure, it’s fun if you start winning right away. But eventually, you’re going to lose a little bit of money. It’s then that you start to appreciate the winnings. You’ve gotta take the risk, put yourself out there, and see what happens.

My family and friends have been nothing but supportive of me and my decisions over the past year. But I haven’t taken full advantage of that. I’ve been humbled by it, touched by it, but not quite as inspired by it as I should have been. They’ve all told me, in different words, that they are willing to gamble on me. That they would place that bet that I can hit the jackpot on this idea or that idea. That they have faith in me.

I’ve just been lacking that faith in myself. That ability to accept the possibility of failure. That fearless nature to put the big bet down, cross my fingers, close my eyes and see what happens.

Maybe it’s time to make that bet. If everyone else is willing to gamble on me, I should sure as hell be willing to gamble on myself. After all, I’ve got a lot less money to lose than most of the others!

Roots and Wings

I mentioned that I went to two concerts this weekend. The first was John Mellencamp with my parents, the second was Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers with three of my girlfriends.

This marked the fourth time I’ve seen SK (plus or minus the 6ers…once was a solo show), and I swear to you, they get better every time. They rocked it out last year when I saw them with my two best friends, and continued the tradition this past weekend. Only this time, it was a standing room only venue, so I got to fully experience it, bopping and dancing and jumping and being “those girls” in the crowd.

The power of music

Anyway, this isn’t about the concert, or about the band itself. This post is about the music. And the words.

I spent the last three weeks “studying” for this concert by listening to nothing but SK6ERS in my car. And I can’t even tell you how many times, as I was belting out the lyrics unashamed by the people who could see me through my tint-free windows, I was brought to tears or got chills when the lyrics actually hit me. Anyone who knows Stephen Kellogg’s music knows that he is VERY much about family, and that may be why I identify with his music so much.

One of the songs that’s meant the most to me lately is from their new album, Gift Horse, called “Roots and Wings.” I’m not going to write it to death, instead I want to share the talent of SK6ERS with you in its purest form.

Embracing my roots and wings

I absolutely LOVE this concept of “Roots and Wings,” and I am so glad that it’s something my parents have given me.

My roots are undeniable. I am a Baltimore girl through and through, and my life and my family here will always draw me back.

But my parents also gave me wings and have encouraged me to use them my whole life. I used my wings to head off to Elon, a place that became my home, a place I left my heart, and a place that formed me into the person I am today. I used my wings to spend a semester in Australia, a place that will forever make me smile, laugh and cry when I think about it. I grew more in my five months in that country than I did in any other time in my life. I learned to fly higher and stronger than ever before. I used my wings to move to Annapolis, where I was blessed with some of the best people I could have ever hoped to meet. I used my wings to quit my job, to dig myself out of a hole, and to take a grip on my life.

Through it all, my parents have supported and encouraged me.

They know that I’m looking to use those wings to take flight again very soon. To find my new home, my new adventure, my new calling. But they also know that they did a pretty damn good job raising me and that my roots run deep enough that I’ll always come back and never forget where I started.

I’m thankful for the fact that they gave me my roots and my wings and that they haven’t feared the changes that would bring.

Now if I could just convince myself to not fear those changes…

PS – If anyone watches the Sixers video and is wowed by the music (as you should be), they are doing two shows in Annapolis next month and I would love some company!

“Love you always and always.”

I am kind of in awe of the fact that I haven’t written in here in so long. And I don’t have any excuses for it, really. I just haven’t quite hit my stride recently and it’s taking a toll on my motivations. But anyway, I am back. And I have something valuable to write about today.

On the importance of grandparents

After spending a significant portion of the day on Sunday with my family, including my grandmother, I was drawn back to an email I received last week. She had just returned from a 10-day trip to San Diego, and she looked totally rejuvenated and lively. It made me think about how fortunate I am to be in touch with my grandmother, and to still have her be an active part of my life (and to just be active!).  I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of family in general lately, but this particular day brought me back to an email I shoved to the side last week.

A case of mistaken email identity

The email I am referring to is one I received  from an old woman in Canada. An email intended for her granddaughter, who is also named Lindsay.

I received another email from her in the past with the same mistake. Apparently her granddaughter and I share the same first and middle name, and she is under the impression that this email address belongs to her granddaughter.

The first time I got the email a couple months ago, I replied and let her know the error, and told her hoped that she would figure out the correct email address so she could get in touch with her granddaughter. And I thanked her for the motivation to send my own grandmother an email.

She sent another email the next day, asking if the email address belonged to The Other Lindsay. I replied saying, no, I’m sorry. This email belongs to Lindsay Eney. I apologize for the confusion.

And then I promptly forgot about it. Until July 5.

As soon as her name showed up in my inbox, I knew what it was without reading the subject or body of the email. My Canadian non-grandmother again. What I read made me immeasurably sad.

“I do miss hearing from you.”

That sentence was the third in this email. From what I can gather, there has been some sort of falling out in this family and this poor woman is just trying to reach out to her grandchildren.

She said she keeps running the situation over and over in her head, trying to make sense of it all, of how it happened and how to bring their family back together again. “Right now, we just have to wait and see what happens.”

She told Other Lindsay about her plans to go on a cruise to Alaska with her husband. She told Other Lindsay about her grandfather’s health and rest needs, and how the cruise would be a real restful holiday for them finally.

Grandma asked Other Lindsay about her new job, her new apartment, and whether she was planning to go back to school in the fall. She asked about her brother – whether she knew where he was, how we was doing, etc.

On the surface, these are fairly normal grandmotherly questions and comments. But this situation goes so much deeper.

“Love always and always.”

That’s how she signed the email. Not just always. “Always and always.”

I don’t know what happened in this family, and I never will. I feel a bit like an intruder on a private conversation, but it is a chance “meeting” that has had a profound effect on me.

Each time this Grandma talked about how much she loves Other Lindsay; how Other Lindsay is welcome to visit “ANYTIME;” how even if she doesn’t go back to school, it’s OK, because she tried her best; or how she never hears from Other Lindsay or her brother, my heart broke a little bit more.

This woman is obviously deeply saddened by whatever has happened to tear her family apart, but her love is still absolutely unconditional for her grandchildren. I can just picture her welcoming them into her home with a huge hug and a plate of warm cookies.

I think that is so representative of many grandparents out there. We may not call them or visit them enough (or in my grandmother’s case, email, text or facebook!), but whenever we come back, they’re always thrilled to see us and express their love in a way nobody else knows how.

Grandparents are special, and I think we take that for granted sometimes. I wish I could help my Canadian non-Grandma find peace and the affection she’s looking for from her grandchildren.

But all I can do is treat my own grandmother the right way.

And encourage all of you to do the same.

Take some time in the next couple days and call your grandparents. Send them an email with an update on your life, send a text that says, “I love you, Grandma,” or heck, poke them on Facebook. Video chat if you can, or even better, take them out to lunch.

We’re only blessed with them for so long, and they deserve the receive a return on all the love they’ve given us.

To my only remaining grandparent, my beloved Nana, I hope you know how much I care for you and what you mean to our family. Love you always and always.

(And to The Other Lindsay – please, oh please… get in touch with your grandmother. She loves you and misses you very much.)