I had the pleasure of spending the last week with my dear friend Sharon from Germany. One of our conversations was about struggling with a difficult or tumultuous time and how to simply get out of that state. Sharon shared with me the simple concept of “remembering when” to help a person get back to a time of happiness and joy in life. In essence, we re-set our brains. The experience of ice cream holds much dear to me and is how our “remember when” talk inspired me to feature local ice cream businesses.
Twenty years ago, I owned the Fairfield Sidewalk Café where we served 16 flavours of Island Farms ice cream. Think Moose Tracks, Bubblegum or Tiger Tiger! Every year from May through August I welcomed familiar smiling faces of families, couples, and children. The cafe was a neighbourhood institution, yet it attracted people from much further as they enjoyed their evening drives along Dallas Road and stopped for ice cream along the way. Life was slightly slower 20 years ago but not that much. The main difference was we didn’t have smartphones or entertainment devices that took us away from the present. Social media wasn’t a constant barrage of potentially useless or negative information filled with opinions based on who knows what. Our conversations around ice cream were fun, engaging, and present.
When I look even further back into my life, I recall in my early 20s the overwhelming negativity that was coming at me through traditional news sources. I realized my spirit couldn’t handle this constant bombardment, so I cancelled cable, stopped the newspaper, and turned off the radio. Almost immediately I brightened up and began to feel more positive and optimistic. What I did then would be today’s equivalent of a digital detox.
In remembering all the people who came for ice cream it was clear we were always in the moment and present with each other. Kind words or a sense of fun were the mainstays of ice cream chat. Only recently did I learn of an assisted living facility where Friday ice cream night was dropped by new management in an effort to change things up. The connection and comradery that people had with each other were under assault. I’m told that for months the residents held Friday’s dessert night strike! (I presume) in management’s thought process they tried to be new and innovative however, failed to understand what was relevant. I scream, you scream, (the residents) all scream for ice cream.
The stories I have heard, the experiences I have gone through and the conversation with Sharon pair very well with my notion of ice cream values. In my mind, ice cream values are:
- Taking time to slow down
- Eliminate negative stimulus
- Be present
- Change your mental focus to allow a happier experience and time in your life.
Our world has been experiencing unique times and so if there’s any message I can offer it is to adopt ice cream values. I see people on a daily basis who are experiencing stress and challenges due to events that they cannot control so I think embracing some ice cream values becomes a way to focus on the positive in our lives and perhaps rebuild relationships that have changed. My focus for the Think Local this month is ice cream and we’ve created “The Ice Cream Trail” checklist of South Island handcrafted ice cream and treats locations for you to download. Go out and explore all the ice cream locations around town. Better yet invite someone along to share. I wish you renewed optimism and a sense of fun on your ice cream adventures!