Dear Grandma

Dear Grandma: Six Years Ago Today

Dear Grandma,

I wasn’t expecting to write another one of these this week, but six years ago today I closed on my house and officially became a Lake George homeowner, so it seems appropriate I write it on the actual day.

What a ride it’s been. In those six years, I’ve had 6 different jobs, 7 different job titles, worked in the news, pet, financial, TV, pharma and packaging industries and had some lovely freelance clients in the tourism industry. It sounds a lot worse than it is.

I was 28 when I closed on my house. My goal was to be a Lake George homeowner by the time I was 30, because I always thought my life would end at 30. That’s around the age mommy was diagnosed with MS, so I just assumed that’s when my life would start to fall apart, too. Clearly, I’m still alive, but I’m not sure if I am any better off than I was six years ago.

Although I have become more experienced in some areas, I feel like life was a little easier and more fun six years ago. Since I bought my house, my friends have dwindled, my depression has gotten worse, my self-confidence has dipped to new levels and I overall don’t feel well. I patch up my emotional wounds with things like dog training classes, constant work and redoing the backyard, but at the end of the day, I am still fundamentally sad most days for reasons I cannot explain. No amount of therapy has helped, and medication caused more problems than cures.

When I work with clients it’s all about managing expectation. Under promise and over deliver. I wish I could figure out how to do that with my own expectations. I wanted to live here because it was my happy place. It was the only place I can ever remember as a kid where there was no flighting, and everyone wad happy. You would say, “Grandma Tess” or “Lake George” and everyone’s face would light up. Still does.

I guess, I thought by living here, those happy feelings and good times would automatically happen again. It’s like buying a home where you vacation — it’s not a vacation anymore.

Last year, I toyed with the idea of selling it. The thought of it made me sick to my stomach. But, realistically, it wasn’t making much sense financially, geographically or just in general. Then, I was presented with an opportunity that allowed me to work remotely, and my dream of living here not just on the weekends became a reality.

It’s not been easy, but it is a whole lot better than before. When I travel someplace, whether for work or pleasure, I always wonder what my life would be like if I lived there instead. But, I like having the Adirondacks as my home base. If I feel happiest anywhere, it is here.

Despite everything I wrote above, the past 6 years haven’t been so bad.

Through various avenues, I’ve gotten to meet people and see places I maybe never would have been to otherwise. I’ve met some people during this time that I look up to and have learned so much from. I’ve grown my career, and have had professional opportunities I never even knew existed. I’ve learned a lot about myself, friendships, love and life.

Of course, there are always more things to learn, which I think, I  have learned, is my passion. I used to think it was writing, then I thought it was the pet industry, then I thought … well, you get the idea. But, in the end, I think my passion is really, learning.

I don’t know if I will live here for the rest of my life. It’s partly why I started Life’s Always An Adventure, but for right now, I feel like it’s where I am supposed to be.

Cheers to another six years … maybe.


Dear Grandma is a tribute to Michelle’s great-grandmother, who inspired her love of the Adirondacks while visiting here since she was a baby. Her great-grandmother, now an eternal resident of Lake George, would always write her letters. These are the letters Michelle would be writing to her great grandmother about her life in the Adirondacks now. 

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