A Letter From Future Alex

September 30, 2061 

Dear Alex,

I will start with good news about being 80…It is the new 60. Perhaps, even 50 if you get enough sleep. After all, Tom Brady just hung it up a few years ago. 

I’m not going to give anything else away about the future. Rather, I want you to be concerned about the things in life that really matter. What follows is some advice towards them…

Nurturing your marriage with Sarah is the most important thing you can do from a human relationship standpoint. Invest in it. Work at it. Be intentional about it. Do not settle. When you entered marriage in 2007, you were passionate about never settling. Do not lose this passion and do not lose the passion you have for her. Trust your gut that relationships are never stagnant. Therefore, continue to work at it so that your marriage blesses others. This will sound idealistic to some, but so be it. Most of all, make her feel loved daily. 

Stop caring about what most think. That statement sounds weird, so let’s unpack it. Stop caring what 90% of the people out there think. But, care deeply about what 10% of the people in your life think. You will know whose opinions matter by their love. And love is not some fuzzy feeling. Rather, it is devoted action. Do they love you enough to tell you when you are full of it? And let’s be honest, you sometimes are full of it. Surround yourself with a group of people that give a damn and back it up with their actions. Similarly, do whatever it takes for them in return. Act sacrificially, just as Jesus did. 

Do not be lukewarm. Be all in or all out. You cannot do it all, especially at work, so make sure that the few areas you put your toe in the water are areas that you create ripples. Dabbling is for the insecure and the fakers. Be gutsy. Be real. 

Remember that later is longer. To this end, be a parent. Say the hard things to your kids. Hold them accountable in a loving, but direct, way. Allow them to reap what they sew. Do not save them, but always protect them. You will know the difference. 

Remember that everything I just shared in the paragraphs above applies to leading others. Be passionate for people. Be known as someone that implicitly lays out expectations, holds people accountable, and works with them to help them succeed. Your proudest moments will be doing this and seeing others win big.  

Be someone that gives second, third, and even fifty-eighth chances. Jesus does this for you.  

Continue to be a steward. God blessed you with a lot through the family you were born into. Honor your parents. Honor the team at Hoffer Plastics. Give aggressively and passionately. But, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Close the door. Don’t be an actor. It is never about you. It is about Him. Always. 

Be unashamed of the Gospel. It will become less popular in our culture for a time, but stand firm. Jesus transformed everything about you, how you live, and what you value. So stand up for your Faith. Stand with the poor, the refugee, the orphaned and the forgotten. Stand especially with any group the world declares as less than. In all ways, honor God. 

Always be willing to listen to other opinions, and always be welcoming to those that come to Jesus. Life’s biggest surprises will transpire right here. And all heaven will rejoice! 

Show up for your kids’ events. They won’t be in counseling if you don’t, but don’t miss them unless you absolutely have to. You will miss these events in the years to come. Okay, maybe not the grade school sing-a-longs. Go to those just to make Sarah happy and go with a fun spirit. 

Play as many rounds of golf with your Dad as you can. Listen to his stories about the company as many times as he tells them. The day will come when you will miss these more than you can describe here. 

Care less about your golf performance, and play more golf. This sounds like competing goals, but they are not. Your golf performance will never define you. Let the past go and be your own man. Use golf to build relationships, enjoy nature, and enjoy the best game on the planet. 

Speaking of performance, stop beating yourself up all the time. No one would follow your self-talk (especially on the golf course). It is often filled with shame. Knock it off once and for all. 

Own who you are in Christ Jesus. This again sounds weird to a world built on seeking fame, greatness, and happiness. But, these things never satisfy. You have sought them all at various stages of your life, only to come full-circle to the upside-down reality of the cross: You have to lose your life to find it, give away everything to have it all, and there is nothing you can do to earn any of this. 

Revel in his grace. 

Hug your mom! 

Have fun. You have the “take life seriously” thing down. Make it more fun the next 40 years. 

Allow yourself to grieve. Never shy away from saying the emotional thing. Shed tears when life calls for it.

Just be real. Just don’t ever say it on text, email, or social media.

Keep writing and have fun with it. 

Aim to encourage others in all you do. At your funeral, you want others to say that you were the person in their life that encouraged them and made them feel valued. That’s the you to strive for.   

Learn to ask great questions. And by all means, when you don’t know, say you don’t know! 

Life is short, so lean into it. Share your wine cellar with guests and let them pick whatever bottle they want. Do this on a Tuesday just because life is a gift.  The point is to never wait for the special moment. Create it. 

If all goes as planned, you will still have another 40 years left when you get this. So, keep on good terms with most. 

And above all else, love Jesus, love Sarah, love your kids, and love the team you work with. 

Don’t strive to be the best. 

Strive to be the most real. 

Sacrificially real. 

Live well. 

It is a great 40 years!