I’ve self-diagnosed myself with a serious condition: the inability to let go of anything.
Mean Whole Foods cashier? I’ll brood about that for days, or a day, because that’s honestly how much I go there. It’s a 7 minute walk from our apartment. Do you really blame me?
Facebook status/photos/updates that inspire jealousy or anger? I’ll think about it until forever, or until a new feed pops up and brings about a new sense of inferiority. Whether it’s politics or weddings or an everyday play-by-play, I dwell on useless bits of information.
The fact that I managed to lose two of my favorite Ray Ban sunglasses this week? Can’t stop thinking about my carelessness and how the ultimate favorite pair made it across the country without incident and somehow disappeared during a 7-mile commute.
And these are just the simple things, the stuff that ultimately doesn’t matter, the details that will prove irrelevant tomorrow or next week or next month or next year.
The more complicated things adhere to me like crazy glue: the painful memories from a past life where people disappointed me in ways that took years to process and the realization that sometimes, when you need people the most, the ones you think will stick around are the first to run. Super toxic and abrasive cleaner might be the only way to get rid of that stuff, that junk, that past.
People call it baggage. I call it discount luggage from the clearance section at Home Goods. It’s the stuff you don’t want and definitely don’t need, yet can’t stop yourself from buying. There’s probably a reason no one took home the darling mug with the feather boa. Useless crap to clutter up your house, your tiny apartment, and/or your mind in this especially awful metaphor.
My life is full of this stuff: old friends who, if I walked by them in T.J. Maxx, would probably think I worked there, even though they have negatively played a part in my life in ways that would blow their minds; shoulda-coulda-woulda for every life decision, from what to make for dinner to whether I should buy this to whether I should stop dreaming big; photos I don’t have from my oddball but tiny wedding and photos I can’t stand to look at from high school prom and pretty much any memory from 9th-12th grade; a partially crooked smile; giant hair; guilt; the desire to eat a giant piece of cake; the opportunities I’ve squandered; and the inability to write about happy things like my awesome chia seed breakfasts.
This goes on and on and on. But this blog post won’t, I promise.
There’s a wildly successful series of slow cooker cookbooks called “Fix-it and Forget-it.” You literally throw everything into your slow cooker and fuhgeddaboudit. My own slow cooker has been languishing in the basement for more than a year, which means I’ve spent the last year unable to fix anything and forget about it. How’s that for a bad metaphor?
When we received last week’s produce delivery box and I had quite a few odd veggies, I forced myself down to the basement and dug out the slow cooker, determined to throw everything in there and let it go.
With inspiration from here and here, I cleaned out my
mind fridge, chopped away, tossed it all in the massive appliance, and let it do its thing. For 8 hours I didn’t care, didn’t worry, didn’t fret about whether it would turn OK. I just let it go.
I don’t care if you aren’t into my cheesy metaphors because that’s advice to live by.
Or you can just forget it. Either way, I’m slow cooking my way to an empty head. I should be done in just about 8- 10 years. And by then I’ll be almost 40, so it’s perfect timing.
Let it Go Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili
(serves 8, but I made it in a GIANT slow cooker, so you could probably half the recipe and use a normal sized slow cooker)
- 2 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 large onion, minced
- 5 cloves garlic, mined
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped into equally sized pieces.
- 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and chopped into equally sized pieces
- 1/2 cup cilantro, minced
- 1 bunch swiss chard, stemmed and roughly chopped
- 3 14.5oz cans black beans, drained (I like to use Eden Organics)
- 1 28 oz. can diced fire-roasted tomatoes (I like to use Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted)
- 2 cups veggie broth, or just enough to cover the ingredients
- 1 T cumin
- 2 T ancho chili powder
- 1/4 t cayenne pepper
- 1/4 t cinnamon
- salt & pepper to taste
1. Chop. Throw. Let it go. For 8 hours or so.
3. Move on.