mid-30s: of baboons and minivans

On Monday of this week, I turned 34. I know, I know, I’m incredibly blessed to share a birthday (3/14) with the celebration of pi — though I’ve never observed Pi Day as it probably ought to be observed.  34’s not really a special age to me, though I suppose I am now officially in my mid-30s.  Joy.  [Aren’t I supposed to have a minivan by now?]

The month of March marks our family having been in Tanzania for two years.  And March was also designated “team month” by our mission team here in Geita.  We’ve had more meetings than usual, and have been assessing our time here so far while setting goals for the next year.

All this has got me thinking about my own goals.  So here are some things I want to accomplish before I turn 35 (which is half-way to 70, you know):

  • I will devote (much of) the month of April to writing a Swahili curriculum for teaching 3-column Bible studies.  This curriculum will include at least one introductory sermon for use at existing churches, but will mostly be written for a 2ish-day seminar format.  May, June, and July will be used for teaching these seminars in whatever groups I can — Christian or not.  This will allow me to get a great deal of information out concerning obedience-based Bible study.  And then I can focus my attention on those individuals who have taken seriously what they’ve learned.
  • Before our furlough in August, I will complete research on the effects of Newcastle’s Disease among chickens in our area.  This research will include information on chicken deaths, availability of the vaccine, willingness of locals to purchase said vaccine, and the current state of relations between villages and their government-assigned “Livestock Masters” (who are supposed to be providing information about this vaccination — and possibly vaccinations themselves).
  • Before my 35th birthday, I will memorize the Sermon on the Mount.  [I set this goal for 2010, but didn’t follow through with it — I only made it through the end of Matthew 5.]
  • I want to run a 3:45 marathon before my 35th birthday.  [This goal is largely dependent on whether or not I can find a marathon to enter that fits both my calendar and my budget.]  I’ve run lots of marathons, but most were either just to finish or as training for Ironmans.  As such, my fastest time is 3:56.  I’m fairly confident that, with some discipline in my training regimen, I can run 3:45 this year.  [I feel added pressure to meet this goal, because my friend Janie did it a month ago.]
  • I will begin studying Sukuma language before the end of 2011.  For all of our work here in Geita — and currently even in villages — we use Swahili, which I feel pretty good about.  But over the next couple of years, Christie and I intend to transition to spending the bulk of our time in more rural areas.  Sukuma will be needed for that.
  • Provided the land is available to us, I will begin work on our demonstration farm immediately upon return from our furlough in November of this year.  It is my goal to be planting just ahead of the March rains, 2012.
  • I will take my wife on a romantic overnight date while we’re home on furlough.  There’s a real shortage of romantic restaurants, bed-and-breakfasts, and the like here in Geita.  But I know that in the U.S., not only do these places abound, but so do mothers and sisters who would love nothing more than to keep Baylor overnight.
  • I will domesticate and keep as pets two wild baboons from the forest near our house.  I will also learn to fly using wings made of papyrus and wood glue.

Are you working towards any goals these days?  And do any of you know anything about caring for baboons?


For more on setting goals, see this series.


Filed under goals and objectives, holidays, just thinking

18 responses to “mid-30s: of baboons and minivans

  1. And I suppose you are going to teach pigs to fly, also!

  2. Tisha

    Happy belated birthday!

  3. mark

    How does three column Bible study work if the Bible isn’t in your first language? Could someone do the first column in Swahili and the second in Sukuma?

    • well, (likely) all 3-column studies i’ll be doing here will be done orally — whether in swahili or sukuma. there just aren’t enough readers (or bibles) to do otherwise. though the real reason is that african culture is an oral culture. ideas aren’t really learned or understood when read. our team (of americans) tried to do several 3-column studies orally for practice when we first arrived. we were horrible at it. but it’s worked well with the tanzanians i’ve done it with.

      but since the studies are oral, they’re always in the person’s first language.

      however, i think using two languages — as 1st and 2nd columns — might be a great idea with programs that use the bible for esl and evangelism together (though i’m not necessarily in favor of those programs).

  4. MaeMae

    As spread out as we mothers and sisters are, you can take Christie on several romantic overnight dates in several states!!

  5. Happy Birthday, Brett! I think that is one awesome set of goals. I don’t think you will have much trouble with the marathon goal, however. It sounds like one of the easiest in your list. This has me thinking, though…I think my goals are sadly one-sided. All running stuff. I should probably challenge myself in other ways.

    Maybe you should snap a picture of two baboons in the woods near your house and let your readers decide if they look domesticatable (new word). I would like to see them.

    • you tell me in almost every comment you make that i should take pictures of the places i run or of the baboons, etc. and i never do it. of course i tell you that you need to make a wall of shame page on your blog where you put up photos of you smiling with a finisher’s medal with people you beat unknowingly in the background.

      i’ll try to take pictures of one of my runs in the next week or two. really.

      • But see, yours would show your interested readers – especially those of the running persuasion (since most probably are after those 3 guest posts) – all the cool scenery you see that is a part of your life there.

        If you had Christie take a picture of you running in all that cool scenery – you could send it to Runner’s World and be in the Rave Run section. Have her get some baboons in there too. I’d save you some copies.

        And while the pictures of those I beat is funny…I’ve missed so many good opportunities already and I’m afraid I’d jinx myself if I did it and start getting beat a lot more.

  6. Oh! And one thing I did to celebrate Pi Day last year was to run the Pi Day Pi K at NASA (me and a bunch of engineer nerds). It was 3.1 kilometers though, so not very far…but still…better than running 34 miles maybe.

  7. JMF

    Happy birthday, Brett.

    It is so lame to see all of the guys our age driving minivans. I will never stoop to that. I’m just fine driving my Chrysler Sebring convertible…and it looks freaking cool whenever I’ve got a pastel-colored sweater tied around my neck and it is blowing in the wind.

    Good goals. Always good to see a man moving at an upward trajectory.

    I am planning to run a 5K at the end of April, and depending on how that goes (and how weight loss cooperates), I may well try and do a half marathon before the end of the year. What I’m finding is that running one miles is death; going further than that is strangely easy. That fascinates me.

    And I’m still working towards the goal of getting married this calendar year.

    Others: swim effectively; understand ocean currents; more knowledgable about all-things-water; CPR cert; concealed carry; take dance lessons; go through Spanish again; start another language in the Fall; list of books to read, etc.

    I’m one of those people that if I don’t have goals, I get nothing done.

    • do you really drive a sebring convertible, fife?

      i’m excited about your 5k. but even more about the possibility of a half marathon. i think i’m running the nashville half while i’m home on furlough. it’s on november 13 or somewhere around there. i’ve been researching full marathons to run while home, but i can’t find one anywhere that i’m already planning to be. EXCEPT for one crazy off-road mountain marathon. but i know i can’t get a good time on that one (to reach my goal), so i think i’m going to run their 40-mile ultra option. that way i do something i’ve never done before and don’t do a marathon that i know i can’t pr.

      i really want to hear about the getting married goal — and how that’s going.

      i’m one of those people that if i don’t have goals, i get a lot of things done, but they’re crazy scattered and spur of the moment. and my body usually hurts a lot afterwards.

      • JMF

        haha…no on the Sebring (probably have offended many). 🙂 But that is a classic middle-class white guy suburban look around here.

        Nov. 13, eh? That would be about the right time of year for me. Good excuse for me to go to Nash and visit friends, too.

        Marriage: Brett, I don’t know that getting married is terribly effective when worked towards as a strategic goal. That said, I’ve had okay luck on some dating sites. A few I am interested in. One I am insanely interested in — and her into me as well — but something went awry. Not sure what. Dating is awful, a definite part of the Adamic curse. 2012 will be “Year Of The Russian” if nothing breaks loose here state-side. Thanks for asking, bro.

        PS — you should do Crossfit. I’ve started doing it, and it is the funnest, most challenging, killer workout I’ve done. Unreal competitive. Makes you want to beat people sooo bad…like playing sports again. Many people do the workouts from home…I bet it would be right up your alley. Very functional type stuff…not health club type deal.

  8. Happy Birthday youngin!

    I have a love/hate with my minivan.

    But, soon all will change to go along with my new tattoo and new 40’s attitude.
    I’ve already been eying me some new wheel candy.

    {And this vehicle will have nothing to do with being mini, kid friendly,
    or baboons.}

  9. i saw the new tattoo on your blog. i want to get another one on furlough, but figure i probably shouldn’t do that with other people’s money…

    what kind of car are we looking at? i miss my wrangler. should’ve put it on a boat and shipped it over here when i came (though the steering wheel’s on the wrong side).

    and thanks for the birthday wish.

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