The one thing about love is it doesn’t run out: Marie, an accountant in her 50s living in the Midwest of America, is writing to her future self and telling us the realities we often don’t see in the media. Does debt-free living actually exist? Can you heal a marriage after an affair? What is sex in your 50s really like? Hosts Steph Colbourn, Sophie Shin and Maria Passingham sit down and ask if anyone really knows what they're doing, and revel in Marie's wisdom about 'taboo' subjects. Oh, and we talk about pickup trucks!
Have you written a letter to your future self? We want to hear from you, reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to Matt for creating FutureMe and collaborating with us on this show by helping letter-writers opt-in to be interviewed.
Maria Passingham [theme music plays] Hey, you're listening to Hope This Finds Me Well, a new podcast about the past and future versions of ourselves and what we would want to tell them if we had the chance. There's a website called Future Me which exists entirely to let that happen. You write a note, choose a delivery date, and chuck in an email address. Weeks, months or years later, and [bell noise] you have mail. So, I'm Maria. I've been using the website for a decade. I mean, literally for a full decade, I've been emailing myself in the future. With my hopes and dreams and petty annoyances, and some weird timestamps like newspaper headlines, most listened to music, and current fave snacks! Here's the second letter I ever sent from May 2010. "Dear future me, you're sitting on your bed looking out of the window. It's raining. Eating dry coco pops with your tongue rather than a spoon. And watching How I Met Your Mother, series five, Episode 21. Ted has made Barney write a letter to his future self. So I am too. I have made a level French oral tomorrow and I am shitting myself. Hope your life is a bit more relaxed when you get this. xxx" Yeah, okay, maybe it's not the wildest of letters. But it does take me straight back to that room, to that moment and see that so much has changed. So I was curious. Who else uses this site? What do they tell themselves? Turns out there's a public letters section. And reading through the heartbreaking, hilarious and sometimes super personal notes, I thought how great it would be if I could reach out to some of the writers and dive into their lives a little deeper. For me, the letters are like seeing someone's apartment from the top deck of a bus. A snapshot of a couple having dinner, the news on in the background, laundry drying on the rack, and Moments later, traffic moves, and you never learned any more about them. I decided to ring the bell and invite myself in. [bell noise] But hey, the more the merrier, right? I've also invited my friends Sophie and Steph along to the party.
Steph Colbourn Hello, hello! I'm Steph!
Sophie Shin Hello! I am Sophie.
MP So I want to kind of get a sense of how you both feel about this project, this idea. Have you ever, I don't know, read anyone else's letters or diaries or something of the past?
SC When I was a kid I used to read my sister's diary pretty frequently.
SS Does she know?
SC I'm sure we've talked about it now. But I do remember reading it pretty often. And I also remember, every time I would write in my own journal, I would write like letters to myself. But I would phrase them assuming that other people were going to read my letters to myself, like my parents or my sister would like snoop and read my letters.
SS Would you address them? Or would you just like write them thinking like, "Oh, I hate my sister right now she did this, this and this"? Or would you be like "Hey, sister, I see you"?
SC I would write such wild lies that if they read them, they would have to confront me. Like I would be like "I made out with my sister's boyfriend like blah, blah, blah" and like write a really convincing like first page and then I would assume that they would fall off. And then I would start writing my real diary.
SS That is some manipulative shit. But I love it. [Sophie laughs]
MP What I'm hearing is that you wrote your diary, knowing that your sister was gonna read it. And that also read has to like, even it out.
SC Yes. I don't know what came first. Like, I don't know if I read her diary to even it out. Or if I just I always read her diary. So I always assumed that she was reading mine, like maybe I was, maybe I was the rotten egg from the beginning.
SS I am not someone really who writes to myself, and honestly, like, I'm obsessed with the idea of writing to myself, but I can never get myself to do it. I feel like I'm more interested in other people's stories that I never want to focus on my own. And I feel like that's something I'm working through. Because that's not necessarily a great thing. [Maria laughs]
SC When you hear other people's stories do you like relate them to yourself in your head?
SS Oh, all the time. I feel like anything I listen to whether it's like conversations with people or movies, I always try and like somehow relate it to myself. And I don't know if that's a selfish thing, or if it's more so just like trying to find like human connection and also trying to like make sense of my own shit and be like, "Oh, I'm not the only person who goes through this." So I mean, that's why I think I'm excited to do this podcast. And I think it'll be really good for me to kind of see other people's processes when it comes to writing letters to themselves and how they reflect on it. Because I think that's just something I'm not super great at doing right now. So, I'm excited for that. And also my therapist always tells me to do it and never do it. [Steph laughs] Like I never do it.
SC I like the idea of you going back to your therapist after like years and being like "So I finally started writing in my journal and the reason I did it, it's not you. It's this podcast I'm working on" [Sophie & Maria laugh]
SS Literally, I've been paying you so much money. But you know. [Sophie laughs]
SC I think also the weight of feeling like you have to write something meaningful, that is hard for me. I'm like, today's just a day, you know, but I feel like that is enough to write in a letter. And once you take that weight away, it's like the rest of the letter can come.
SS Oh, totally. Whenever I've tried to, like, sit and write down, I am almost thinking like, if I die, and someone reads this, if like, my best friend found my journal, when I died, would it be this like beautiful thing that they could later publish into a memoir? [Sophie laughs] Those are the thoughts that go into my head!
MP So you've gone from "I'm not comfortable writing about myself" to "They're gonna publish me!" [Maria & Sophie laugh] I'm gonna set you both a challenge. Well, and me. So I think maybe Sophie, you're not gonna feel so comfortable with this.
SS Oh no, I hate this already. No I'm kidding, I'm excited. [Maria laughs]
MP I would really love us to all have a go at writing a letter to our future selves, so that we can kind of feel, I mean, we're going to speak to all these people and and find out how they felt getting these letters back. And I think the only way we can really step into their shoes is to is to do that. And to try and write a letter to ourselves and see, what you know, what the experience was like writing it. And then when it comes back, is it like, "Ugh, this is horrible!" Or is it "You know what, I actually have some really valid things to say" you know, it could be very helpful for you Sophie. [Maria laughs]
SC Yeah, maybe it will be publishable postmortem.
SS I feel like I've suddenly already turned this all about me.
SC I'm nervous. I don't know. I'm nervous to write a letter.
MP I guess, I should say that, like I've been using Future Me for many years now. So I am quite used to writing to myself, I know that I have at least three I would say at this point coming to me on my 30th birthday, [Sophie gasps] I think a few more down the line. And on your account, it tells you how many you have still like in the air. So I know there's a few around, but I can't access them. Thank God.
SC And can you remember them?
MP Um, no. [Maria laughs]
SC Wow! That's so cool!
MP I also have a couple, I've got a couple of stories, which I think I'll save for further down the season. [Maria laughs]
SS I love that, the seasoned Future Me user. I'm really, really excited for this.
MP So I know that we've had a little look through some of the public letters on the website. Has anything stuck out to you? Did something come up more than others? Or were you surprised by the tone of the letters or the type of people writing to themselves?
SC I think the thing that stood out to me was that I didn't know any of the people. So like you would, you know, read a letter. And then you would envision what you think this person would be like, but no one starts off their letter like, "Hey, I'm, you know, Steph, I'm 30 years old, I'm living in Montreal, this they're what my parents are like, this is what I look like" you know, so you like build these versions of people in your head. And I think I do it in relation to myself. I'll read a letter and I'll be like, okay, I relate to these parts. I relate to these parts. And those are the parts I remember.
SS Yeah, totally. I think we're always trying to find a little bit of ourselves and every story we, we read or watch or consume, but I agree, it's almost like reading a novel you try and like picture what that specific character is gonna look like, what they're gonna sound like, what they wear, what their demeanor is like. And then now we're gonna get an actual face to face view as to like, what these people are gonna look like and sound like, which is gonna be so exciting.
MP [theme music fades in] So I think we should, we should kind of dive in. [theme music fades in]
SC Who's our first interviewee? Our first Future Me writer?
MP Our first writer is this amazing woman, Marie from the Midwest of America. She touched on a lot of topics that we saw reoccurring and the letters that I think will also become apparent as the season develops. She really opens up just about her family, you know, romance, grandkids, trust, finances, communication.
MP It's a big one. [Maria & Steph laugh] So take this moment, for example, when she compares her decades spanning relationship to a truck.
Marie I want some dents and some dings and some scratches of the paint and maybe even some rust and a little older and, you know, well worn and used and and I guess, you know, that kind of is what happened to our relationship. It got dinged, it got battered a little bit, but we're still here. And it's all the stronger for it.
SC Just hearing her voice makes me feel good.
MP I think that we all just want to hear her letter right?
SC Oh yeah.
SS Oh, let's do it.
Marie This is a letter from September 2nd, 2018. It says "Dear future me. This one is public. So I'm censoring a little bit. It's been almost 80 letters to date and over five years of writing to the future. There have been a lot of dreams lost and realized over the years. Heartache and love with the same man. Wonderful kids and beautiful grandkids. For the readers of these anonymous letters a little about me, us. Today I'm 50 but will be 51 in December. I'm a very young 50, most people can't believe that or that I have three kids and six grandkids. So to me, I'm not old. But I do feel like I should know what I want with my life. And I don't. When this letter is received, our main goal is to have all of our debt paid, as well as an emergency fund. Next goal, a paid for house, you have four years. Oh, and sex at 50 does exist. It's just different. Better.
Marie And then on July 31, I believe, I replied to this. And I said, upon receipt of this email, I'm 52 going on 53 and still look much younger than I am. I don't have any new grandkids yet. My husband and I are still together stronger than ever, despite everything we've gone through. But I know you want to know, are we debt free? Ugh, not yet. So close! COVID didn't mess us up too much. Well, really not at all, even though my pay has been reduced for the next 12 months, 11 now. The new date for being debt free is September 30th, 2020. It will be tight. I think we need to come up with another 2500 based on my calculations. If we don't that's okay. It will be done in October and our emergency fund will be done by November. However, I'm trying to pull out all the stops on getting an additional 2500 between now and then. On top of everything else we're doing already. See you in two months!
SC Oh my gosh
SS The first thing that jumped out to me about this letter is the sentence that says [Marie's voice over fades in] "I do feel like I should know want with my life. And I don't." And I don't know, I feel like as someone who's approaching 30, it's something that I had been thinking about so much. I'm like, what the fuck am I doing with my life? And I feel like it's just so true when people say literally that will never go away almost. You just like never really know what you're doing. Is that how you feel still? Has anything changed with that? Or?
Marie Not really, it is still how I feel. I feel like I should know exactly what I want to do with my career, exactly where I want to live. And probably the career is the biggest piece for me, and not knowing what I want to do. But it's everything. I have a struggle in my brain every day, you know, wanting competing things and not knowing which I should choose.
SS Do you mind us asking what you do for a career?
Marie I am an accountant.
MP Hence knowing all about the numbers and like how long it's gonna take. [Maria laughs]
SC That's why you have these like very specific projections.
Marie I do.
SC Do you always feel like like, can you think back in your life and did you always sort of have this feeling of like not knowing what you wanted to do with it? Or is that something that you've only had the like comfortability and time to start thinking about recently?
Marie No, it's been my whole life. I, I journal, on and off. And when I go back and read my journals, it's the same things over and over, we need to figure out what we want in life, I need to lose weight, you know, we need to pay off this debt. It's the same things over and over. And as an accountant, this was never what I dreamed that I would be doing. I just kind of landed here. And it's where I spent the most of my time. So to me, it makes sense to just keep going, why start over, why start new, you know, it's gonna cost more money, it's gonna cost more time. What I think I really want to do is be a financial coach. Really, what I want is just to help people. I'm passionate about empowering, especially women, or people who have been, you know, maybe people who have been in jail or had a rough life somehow, and they need to get back on their feet, I would like to have a business where all I employ are people that have had a rough life, and just kind of help them grow and learn and make their life better going forward.
MP What I love so much about this is that she's like, "Hmm, I don't know, I've never really know what I want to do." And then she's like, "Okay, what I really want to do" [Maria laughs] and she does like, this whole plan, and she decides in this random moment with three strangers to lay out and give it to the world.
SS And I think honestly, she was like, slowly figuring things out, the more she like talked things through with us, which was like a really beautiful thing to see. And I feel like the more she talked about it, the more confidence she had in the ideas that were already kind of in her brain.
MP Mhmm. Let's hear more about her plans.
Marie I heard somewhere somebody said "You know when it's the why that makes you cry" And literally that is, that is the why that makes me cry. So even though I say I don't know what I should be doing, that has probably been in the back of my mind all of my life, but it was never not necessarily that honed in on. It was never something I felt like I could do. Because I'm a mom now.
SC And a grandma!
Marie Right. And we're doing this, we're doing that, there's no time for me to go and do those things. So I do feel like now is my time.
MP Do you think that being you know, you call yourself a young 50 year old. Do you think having, perhaps your kids younger, and certainly your grandkids when you're at this age, rather than, you know, in your 70s that has, in a way freed up your later half of life to like, really live it to your maximum and do really what you're passionate about, rather than what needs to be done in the moment?
Marie Absolutely. I'm so glad that I had kids young. I wasn't a teen mom, but I had kids young and then you know, some of my kids had kids young. So that that makes me a grandma of a 12 year old.
SC That's something I never really think about, like, you know, obviously, I'm 30. So I think about like, okay, am I ever gonna want to have kids? Like, should I freeze my eggs? Like, that's what I think about. But all my friends that had kids were either waiting until they were like, financially stable enough to or it was like an accident. Sorry, friends if you didn't want me saying that. [Maria & Sophie laugh] But it's true!
Marie I like to say just unplanned.
SC Unplanned. Yes. Sorry. [Marie & Sophie & Maria laugh] They love their kids. And their kids are great. They were, yeah, not planned.
SS I was not planned. It's fine. I feel good about it.
SC But I never think about like how that trickles down your whole entire life. Because I guess I'm stuck thinking about my life in the next 10 years. But really, like all of my friends that had these unplanned kids are going to be like a little more in debt now then probably the ones I mean, assuming we all have the same income, which we don't. But let's just say this is a dream world, they would be, you know, in debt now and then freed up probably like 50, 60. And then the people that wait to have kids until they're financially stable might have that sense that they're stable before they have kids. But realistically, they're gonna be in debt longer into their later years. Also like, is anyone ever financially stable? Like, I don't know if you guys have read that article that was like, I think it was in the US, but like, they surveyed a bunch of people. And it was like about work life balance. But one of the things that they found was that after I think it was 70K, after your income is 70K, and you're living in like a two person home, the amount of money that you make after that point is actually not like, it doesn't help you pay for anything like that is the amount that you need to be stable. But for some reason, we all want like $250,000 a year or something like, the number just keeps moving, right? People keep like moving to the suburbs, and having a longer commute so that they can save more money and doing all these things that are actually like taking back on their time, which actually, this study proved that they were actually less happy with more money and less time than they were with, like $70,000, which was like what they deemed stable income. And more time.
Marie That's interesting.
MP I also think from personal experience that people I know with the more money are the tighter with it. So like, it's not even like you get to a threshold and think, "Okay, well now I'll give, you know, 10% of my income away" or even if it's something selfish. "Now I'll go on three amazing holidays a year" they're just like, "That's going in the bank." It's like what's it even doing?!
Marie That's true. It is hard for some people, especially me, to spend money, it's hard for me to do something for myself. It's easier to just put it away.
Marie Okay, so I looked this up, Steph, you weren't far off. Actually, in 2010, it was around $75,000. And then in 2018, a study from Purdue University found that globally, this kind of critical point that you were talking about for emotional well being is a salary of between 60 and $75,000. But actually in the USA, that was higher, it was a little bit over $100,000.
MP It's a lot, to be happy.
SC Yeah, that's a lot.
MP So we'll include a link to that study in the show notes. So you economists out there, looking at you Marie, can dive into the intricacies further. While we're here, Marie just mentioned that she finds it hard to spend money on herself. And actually, I do wish that I had asked her what was the last splurge that she had, kind of just, you know, out of the blue. So I want to ask you twp now, in recent memory, what was something that you treated yourself to? I'm sorry, that's a hard question.
SS No, I love it.
SC I'm so cheap. Like I honestly am like such a cheap person. I do know the last big purchase I made and I grappled with it for months and it was buying a desk because I didn't have a desk in my house because I used to have like a studio that I worked out of. So I needed to like create some sort of workspace and I didn't want to buy something that was like manufactured outside of Canada, I didn't want to buy something that like, you know, was ugly. So I ended up spending a shit ton of money on a desk and I honestly spent, I think four months, longer, I think five months deciding if I should do it or not. And I finally did it. And now I haven't thought about it since like, I'd love it. I work on it every day. It's beautiful. And it is practical. It's so stupid now to think like, obviously, I needed a desk.
MP But it did also bring you joy. So I think I we'll allow that. [Maria chuckles]
SS I think recently, I've come to the realization that it's okay to like, spend money on little things every day. Like I used to feel very specifically, I'm talking about getting a coffee every single day from like a coffee shop, which is something I love doing, I love coffee, I love my neighborhood coffee shop, it makes me feel good when I go there and like get a coffee and they know me. But for so long, I felt guilty that I did that almost every day. Because I feel like there's that like classic saying—
SC Oh my God, like if millennials spent less money on avocado toast and cappuccinos. [Maria laughs]
SS Yeah, then you would have a billion dollars by the end of the year that you could have saved. And it's like, I'm gonna spend $4 a day at my local coffee shop and not feel bad about it anymore, because that is something I enjoy doing. And that's not a splurge per se. But I think like very recently, I did have that conscious thought.
SC I think also because of COVID. You know, you can feel even better about spending $4 a day because you're like helping this place stay in business.
SS No, exactly. What about you Maria?
MP I have bought a little bit of art. I mean, it's not super fancy, 1000s of pounds worth, but I've bought like a few prints here and there and they do genuinely bring me joy. And I think because you know the type of people that I'm buying fromm, you know, random Instagram or Etsy artists, they'll also like package it really beautifully and write a little note. So just the receiving it and the opening of it is like ceremonious and also brings me happiness. So I think yeah, maybe little bits of art.
SS Yeah that's beautiful.
SS Is debt something you think about a lot? Is that why you wanted in your letter? Or was that to like, hold you accountable, like, I need to be debt free by this day so I'm going to do it because I'm having it in writing.
Marie That was holding me accountable. But we have passed many dates by, because for the longest time, my husband was not on board, he thought we'll be in debt forever. There's no reason to do this. So it took, I honestly was on this journey since 2004. And I figured out how many years we need to be debt free. And that time came and went and came and went and came and went. Because as I'm trying to do things to get out of debt, my husband's buying a new car, buying a new motorcycle. [Marie laughs]
SS Very different ways of thinking there.
Marie Exactly, so, so then in that case, you can't get out of debt, because you're still you're just now filling one hole with another. But, we are debt free.
MP [Maria gasps] Congratulations!
SS Yay! That must be such a fucking good feeling.
Marie It is amazing. I do have to say that it's my husband who helped us finally get to this point. Because when he finally saw, we might really do this. And as soon as he was able, didn't happen until this year students, he was able to start working overtime. He has been working 10, 20 hours overtime every single week for a few months. So if he wouldn't have done it, we still would have been debt free. It just would have been a few months later.
SC But in order for him to see that future, he needed you for 16 years seeing it for him. [Marie laughs] Which is really a summary of I think all hetero relationships in my point of view, but like, yeah, I mean, like you saw the goal, and we're encouraging him for 16 years and, and then he finally was like, "Okay, I'm starting to see results. I will get on board." And I mean, yeah, props to him. But also kudos to you for being able to keep that goal in your mind for 16 years.
MP I think it also brings out another part of your letter, like in an even more sort of starkness. Sure. And, you know, you talk about being with the same man for a long time and sort of, you know, good times and bad times. And it's really powerful that like that, you know, money is a huge issue in people's marriages. And that was not big enough for you know, anything bad to happen to you guys. It's very sweet that there's obviously enough love that to ride those waves.
Marie That is absolutely true. And the money thing is one of the easier things we've been through.
MP Okay. [Maria chuckles]
Marie And we've been together for 31 years.
Marie Thank you. We always say it feels like forever and it seems like just yesterday. Because we, he's the only man that I, to me that I've ever been with. And he feels the same way. But yet, it wasn't 31 years of drudgery. It was, I mean, we did definitely have our ups and downs. And and there were probably a few times we could have gotten a divorce. But we love each other. So we work through it.
SS Oh my god. And the sex at 50 is not so bad. [Maria laughs]
Marie It is not. No, it's better because you, you, you know each other so well, you know, the likes, you know, the dislikes. I mean, it's it's all it's mind, body and soul.
SS Do you have any advice because I'm just thinking, I'm not calling any of my friends out. [Maria laughs]
SC Just Sophie and I are just shitting on our friends! [Sophie & Marie laughs]
SS I'm not going to name names. But I do have multiple friends that are in relationships for like two to five years and they're already like, kind of struggling with their sex life. And it sounds like you're still having sex at 50, which is fucking, you know, great. Do you have any advice on like, how to keep it going? How to keep it fresh? Like now in perspective, I'm like, oh, two to five years is not that much. You should still be having sex.
Marie Oh for sure. For sure. I guess the first thing I would ask is, is the person you're with your best friend? Do you really share everything with them? Is that the person, your go to person? And there are a lot of people who that isn't the case. And I think that I mean, sure there's that kind of erotic sexual pleasure that you can get with something new and, and all of that, but, but to have that really deep connection, this person needs to be, I believe your person. And then you play games. Ask questions. We talk a lot we play Truth or Dare.
SS So fun. I think asking a lot is a good point. Like I think communication sometimes just like falls off the rails when you're in a long term relationship, because you're just like, you feel like you know everything about someone.
MP You just assume it.
Marie Exactly. And for the for the guys listening, just doing something nice for your wife changes the mood. My husband walls, start out rubbing my shoulders, and there's no intention for anything. But you you're connecting your meeting together. I feel when he's rubbing my shoulders, the love passed to me, it can't help but make you feel love. And just to want to be closer. I suppose it would work the other way with with women too, but usually don't have problem with guys. [Maria & Sophie laugh]
SC Do you also feel like you have that sort of understanding what you like and be able to vocalize that more
Marie Absolutely. Yes. And if you don't want to say it, try to show it, guide, you know?
SC Oh, that's great advice. I've never heard that before. That's really great advice.
SS I also think like, women are afraid to really discover themselves and find out what they like. Because for so much of our lives, we're told when we're young to like, suppress any sexual feelings that we have. So then that leads to like, women not really discovering their sexuality and their own bodies, so they don't know what they like, and then they don't advocate for themselves and bad. I'm glad you've been able to do that.
Marie Yes, one of the other things, too, is I mean, I have two daughters. And for both of them, I tried to empower them and let them know that hey, I'm being pleased in the bedroom is okay. It might even be more okay for you to be pleased and enjoy yourself more than whomever you're with.
Marie And and I think I asked them both. I'm like, did I teach you that? Did I did I show you that to you know, appreciate your body and all that it is and does and? And they both said yes. So that's good.
SC Oh, that's so beautiful. I want to have that conversation with my mom.
SS I know. My mom the other day was just like, "I don't know if I've ever had a sex talk with you." And I'm like, "I don't think you have either." She's like a very open person. But we just never had that like actual like, sit down talk.
Marie 'Cause you probably had it in casual conversation.
SS Yeah. This is the beauty of this podcast is that we started this conversation with financial advice. [Maria laughs] And now we've drifted off into sex advice.
MP Can you tell us a little bit about your family and your grandkids? Which one is your favorite? [Maria & Sophie laugh]
Marie They all think that they are my favorite. But I quite honestly do not have a favorite. I mean, in life period. Like if you say what's your favorite food? I don't have a favorite.
MP Oh it's impossible.
Marie Yeah, I just I love everyone for who they are. And there's little things about each of them that, you know, the other may not have or whatever. And I love those qualities, but I love them wholly and completely, no more or no less than anybody else, and that's the one thing about love is it doesn't run out. There's just, you can keep giving and giving and giving it. So, yeah, but to answer your question, though, I have three kids, two girls and a boy. My son is actually my stepson, but he's lived with us since he was about six years old in kindergarten. And so we raised him together instead of his mother. And then I brought a child in from another marriage. And then we had one together.
MP Oh, nice.
Marie So his, hers and ours.
SS What a beautiful blended family.
Marie And then we have six grandkids.
MP How has it been cheering the last few months? Are they close enough that you've been able to see them? Or is it—no? Okay. [Maria chuckles] I'm sorry.
Marie It's okay. You saw my face. Three of them I don't see very often. Three of them I see all the time. But mom and dad kind of want to make sure they stay safe. So we can see each other, but I can't hug them. And that's really hard. And I can't hug my daughter and my other daughter doesn't live here. So I only get to hug her when I see her. But yeah, it's been hard. It's been hard to not be able to hug people.
SS There's something about hugging, like, when restrictions finally loosened. I saw my mom and she just looked at me. She's like, "Do you care if I hug you?" And I'm like, Let's hug and then we hugged for the first time. I think it had been like three months. And she literally just started crying and then I started crying. There's just a very emotional thing about like hugs, and I don't know, human touch. It's just like, it's so—I don't know.
Marie It's very important. Very important.
MP And we took it for granted before, right? You'd see your friends and you just, you know, you'd hug them hello, you'd hug him goodbye, you'd like pat them on the arm while you're talking totally subconsciously. And then when you can't do any of that for weeks or even months, it suddenly becomes like, so painful. It's just nuts that we didn't even realize we had access to that beauty before.
Marie Right? My mom lives by herself because my dad died like 12 years ago. And I try to see her as often as I can, talk to her every day. But she had told me "I don't want to hug I want to, you know, kind of keep my distance." And I said, okay, but after a while I said, "Mom, this isn't good for you. You have to have human touch, you have to, you by yourself." So now we're careful. But now she lets me hug her whenever I see her. 'Cause she needs the hug. And she did too. She cried the first time we we decided we would hug, she cried.
SS I do want to know and like you don't really have to talk about if you don't want to. But in your letter it does say there have Marie's voice over fades in] "There have been a lot of dreams lost and realized over the years" Do you want to share maybe like lost and or realized?
Marie One of them isn't really in the dream realm of like goals and, and, you know, accomplishments and things like that. But I really thought when my husband and I met and with all the conversations that we had had, that there would be just, you know, one or two things that never ever would happen between us because we were so open and so conscious of how different things would affect us. So we both had been in previous relationships that we were cheated on. And so that was something that was like, you know, if we ever feel this way, we're going to have a conversation, we're not going to let this go and, and I guess it probably a silly dream was that when we got together, that it would be him and me forever and no one or anything would ever come between us. And so that dream lost kind of hurts a little bit. Um, but you know, they always say there's a good thing that comes from everything. Look on the bright side and all the end. It's true. We talk about it, we are much more, we've grown a lot, you know, and we are closer. And we're even better friends than we were before. But but that is probably the biggest dream that maybe was not realistic to begin with. But in my mind it was in my mind it never had to happen and and to have my best friend find himself in the arms of another woman for almost a year. It was really, really hard, all the while telling me that it wasn't happening, but I knew better. I've gotten to a very good point in my life with that, that happened in 2014. I'm still not completely over it. But I want to be able to help other women, other couples in that regard. Because in the, in a lot of people's eyes, we never should have made it. Everyone that was close to me, was telling me get out of this, do not continue with this. And all that I wanted was to save my marriage, I even had a therapist who is trying to tell me just run, get out of it. The only person besides my kids that was on my side and trying to keep us together was my mother in law. So my mother in law and I get so close, she is an amazing woman, I'm so lucky to have her as a mother in law. So that's, that's the biggest dream that you know, I kind of thought we were going to be perfect forever. And I should have known better that nothing is perfect. You know, a little kind of story. I like trucks, like pickup trucks.
SC I love you. [Sophie & Maria & Marie laugh] Who are you?
Marie But I don't like those new fancy shiny pickup trucks. I like a pickup truck with some character, I want some dents and some dings and some scratches of the paint and maybe even some rust and a little older and you know, well worn and used. And and I guess, you know, that kind of is what happened to our relationship. It got dinged to get battered a little bit. But we're still here. And it's all the stronger for it.
SS And you're working. You're trucking along.
Marie Exactly. Trucking along.
SC I think a lot of times relationships are sort of portrayed as like this magical thing that happens. And then you're in it, you know, and that's it. It's like, oh, you're in love. And your love will carry you through and like that's it. But it's like, that's not real. Like that's you like a relationship is a thing that both people choose. And like every day, like you have to choose to be in the relationship. And you have to choose how much you want to commit to it. And you have to choose to be there for each other. And you chose and you had that in your mind. And there were many times where you could have backed out or given up and you didn't you were like, no, I'm choosing this and I'm gonna stick with it. And you did and I have goosebumps because like, it came true for you.
Marie For the longest time I felt he did it to me, look what he did to me. And I realized it had nothing to do with me. It was something he was going through. And I had to learn how to let him deal with his thing and not take that as my problem. And as soon as I did that, I just, I was and it's just recently happened a few months ago. But that was what kind of freed my mind a little bit and allowed me to heal even much more quickly in three or four months than I had in six years.
SS Thank you for sharing that story. I feel like there's so many people out there that would definitely relate to that. And I also feel like we're at a time where we're finally understanding that like relationships are messy and not perfect. And it's okay to stay with someone who cheated on you. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't like it just depends on the situation. And for a while it was very much like he cheated on you, get the fuck out, like what are you doing? Things are not that black and white, you know? And so like, I don't think you need to feel like sorry for staying in or like sorry for even having that dream in the first place. I don't think you need to feel sorry for that. It's a dream everyone wants but you just realize that sometimes it's not gonna go that way. And that's okay.
Marie Yeah, as much as I thought that I could never find the silver lining. I finally found, you know, some silver linings and, and yeah, I'll be okay.
SC But I think what's special about your letter and also about you is like talking about a relationship in a way that is something you're choosing to stick with and something that is rocky or talking about relationship with your children, where you talk about sex and loving your body or, you know, talking about finances and debt and not being like, closed off about that, or talking about sex in your 50s even though that's like not displayed as sexy otherwise, like, these are all things that like stories that we don't get told ever, we don't see them in the media. We don't see them in Hollywood. We don't see them from our parents, like people don't talk to us about that. Like all of those relationships, even the one with yourself are things that we are not given access to. And so to me, what's beautiful about you and about your letter is that you're like able to share those things, and from a place that is like, I'm still learning and everyone should come along to you.
Marie I appreciate that because I never really looked at it that way. It's it's a completely new perspective for me.
SC I love Marie. She said, so many things that people are afraid to talk about and afraid to, like, bring up and it sounds like she's just been having these conversations with her children and like her, you know, mother in law and like all these people in her life, and she also talks about it in a way where I don't think she saw that as powerful. But to me that's really like brave and powerful. And I feel lucky that I got the opportunity to tell her how cool she is.
SS She was so cool. And she was so open and so eloquent. I feel very lucky to have talked to her. I feel like she's like our friend. [Sophie laughs]
SC I honestly, I hope that she wants to be my friend someday.
MP Yeah, it was really amazing hearing all these different perspectives that we don't usually hear about, but I also think that it was really kind of you to kind of bring that home to her, Steph, because I think she genuinely doesn't think about it and we really love speaking to her but I also think that hopefully she got something out of it too and kind of realized how special she is.
SC I hope so do and I hope in writing letters to ourselves that maybe we all get a bit of that, like maybe you you're yourself talking to yourself again, like you're able to recognize how cool you are.
MP Totally. [theme music fades in] Thank you so much to Marie I know that we all found this conversation just really insightful and inspiring and honestly refreshing and that's because you were so open and honest with us and really shared some pretty personal details so we're very grateful. Hope This Finds Me well is an editaudio original production hosted and produced by Maria Passingham, Sophie Shin and Steph Colbourn, with help from the whole editaudio team. Thank you. A lot of the music in this episode is from Audio Network and we could not have put this together without the help from Matt Future Me. You can visit futureme.org to write your own letter. And if you have one you recently received and would like to talk to us about it, email us at email@example.com. The email address is also in the show notes if like me, you have an awful memory. [theme ramps up, plays alone for 3 seconds, ends]