So Is This What It Means to be an Adult? and a Recipe for Butternut Squash Chili
I have a hard time admitting that I now belong to the adult category. But I guess being 28, engaged, and having a dog and a house kind of makes it hard to still consider myself a kid. Maybe I could still qualify as a kinda-young adult? Regardless, lately I’ve found myself asking, “So is this really what it means to be an adult?” Does life really become the humdrum of the 9-5? And if you’re anything like me that’s more like the 7-7 without a lunch break (sorry, Kate) and every other Saturday, too. I come home from work and the last thing I want to do is…well, anything. Is this really it, grown-ups? Is this really what the “real world” is about? I refuse to believe it is. Otherwise, what’s the point? This life of living to work isn’t any fun and I’m sick of it. I’m sick of the exhaustion, the mundane, the lack of excitement. So, I’ve decided to reclaim my time. Not only do I want to revive that girl of 3 years ago who felt passionately about things and had lots of exciting plans, but I also want to grow into a newer, better version of me. I’m not sure what the new version will be yet, but you can sure as hell bet it’ll be a lot more fun than the version of myself that I’m currently living.
The best part about this revelation? A lot of it was inspired by this very blog. What Kate said about taking back lunch breaks hit me like a load of bricks – in a good way! She’s right! This is my life! Why am I literally giving it away to somebody who really doesn’t have my best interest at heart? “The man” certainly isn’t going to stop me from working 20 extra unpaid hours a week. I need to stop myself. Get My Life Back Goal #1: work the hours I’m paid to work and get back my personal time. (I say this while being guilty of having worked back to back 11 hour days…sigh. This will be surprisingly difficult for me.)
Merri said if you have the time, go for a run. No more excuses. It’s true. I will sit around and think, well it’s 10 am, but I might, possibly have something to do at 3 pm so maybe I should just wait here on the couch and see. And then I feel annoyed that I never did anything. Get My Life Back Goal #2: Exercise more. This isn’t just to lose weight (although I wouldn’t complain), but also to have more energy to do more of the things I want to do!
Which brings me to Get My Life Back Goal #3: Do what I want. So what if Oliver’s fur has taken over the house again this week. Or if there’s still pine branches on my porch from when I made those wreaths awhile back. They’re not hurting anybody. I need to let go of some of the things I should do in favor of doing the things I want to do, like making butternut squash chili! My hope is that by spending more time doing the things I love, I will re-develop a sense of who I am and in the process grow to owning my life again. Then, those other chores that aren’t so desirable won’t rule my life and might not seem so overwhelming anymore.
The vacuum stayed in the closet this weekend. And that’s okay, because I’ve been eating some delicious butternut squash chili.
Butternut Squash Chili
very loosely adapted from Cookie + Kate
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 butternut squash, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon chopped chipotles in adobo
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
14 oz canned diced tomatoes, including liquid
2 cans of beans, rinsed and drained (I used black and kidney)
1 14 oz. can chicken or vegetable broth
Combine the olive oil with the chopped squash, onion, peppers, and garlic in a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle on some salt. Cook until onions are translucent, stirring regularly.
Add the spices and canned ingredients, including stock.
Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 1 hour. I found that my chili was slightly more watery than I wanted at first, but that it thickened well after I turned the heat off. At this point, taste your chili and adjust your seasonings if wanted. If you want more spice you can add more chipotles in adobo. Or, if you’re not a huge fan of the smoky flavor, add a bit of cayenne like I did.
Suggested toppings: avocado, greek yogurt, shredded cheddar cheese, tortilla chips.
Serves 4. Feel free to double it for a crowd.