We’ve seen a lot of weird vans over the past four years we have lived in this city. There’s the knife-sharpening van that cuts the competition, the $995 Boob-Job van that is heading for a bust any day, and the Mammogram Van which claims to stay abreast of the most up-to-date technology and methods. Ok, I added the puns, but I swear I am not making up the vans! But yesterday’s van was a new one, and it really took the . . . cone. I took a video because I knew no one would believe me:
I don’t know what was a stranger sight—an ice cream van dropping by during a pandemic, or me . . . on my balcony, taking a video of an ice cream van dropping by during a pandemic. What’s the scoop on this Ice Cream Van? Is it a hoax? A joke? A social-experiment? A van dishing out a little more exotic . . . flavor than rocky-road or bubblegum? A genuinely oblivious or desperate Ice Cream Man? That will have to be left to the reader’s imagination. All I know is that the Ice Cream Van payed us a little musical visit, and then . . . split.
But the real cherry on the top (other than the absurd irony that I admittedly found way too much amusement in . . . I’ve been in isolation a little too long, apparently) was that I was the only person on our street who seemed to take much notice of the out-of-place Ice Cream Van! The guy jogging around the block wasn’t too phased. The woman walking her dog didn’t seem to care. Even the little masked girl riding past on her scooter didn’t give the Ice Cream Man the time of day, which I found surprisingly impressive.
Perhaps we’ve all become a little more suspicious of the man living in a van down by the . . . canal . . . at least while there may be more to risk from a frozen treat than merely brain freeze. Whatever the reason . . . it looks like the Ice Cream Man will be waiting a month of sundaes before he makes a sale on our street.
Nevertheless, I’ve been thinking about the Ice Cream Man as he relates to how COVID19 is affecting personal (and societal) growth. Was he even an Ice Cream Man? Maybe he borrowed the van from his uncle (resourceful) to play a joke or conduct a social experiment (creative) to see how this whole pandemic will change the face of history (visionary). Perhaps he was a legitimate Ice Cream Man trying to open his business back up (bold). Or maybe the Ice Cream Man accomplished exactly what he set out to (intentional) . . . got someone . . . me. . . thinking about the Ice Cream Man (clever), contemplating his frozen role in society! The man jogging around the block was too busy exercising (driven) to pay much attention to the Ice Cream Man. The woman walking her dog was too in-tune with the sounds of nature and the thoughts in her own head (present) to be distracted by the Ice Cream Man. The little girl on her scooter knew better than to accept solicited sweets from a man in a van (discerning). And the woman on her balcony filming the Ice Cream Van found plenty of levity in the whole event (you can decide: deranged or of Good Humor. . . . and I didn’t even know that was a brand of ice cream!)
It’s not all sweet with sprinkles on top; it’s not all for the better . . . it’s not all pleasant or pretty . . . it may be super awkward and weird (like the woman filming the Ice Cream Van from her balcony). . . but this pandemic is changing us. We have all had to dig deep the past couple of months to find courage, strength, creativity, flexibility, resourcefulness, purpose, gratitude, humor . . . just to get by each day. What doesn’t kill you makes you . . . many things, apparently. What doesn’t kill you makes you . . . GROW.
~19 Ways the Coronavirus Pandemic is Affecting Personal Growth~
COVID19 is making us. . .
1.) More Hygienic
Apparently, as a society, we have just discovered the tremendous protective powers of the humble bar of soap! I swear, if I see one more video tutorial about how to properly wash your hands…. It seems that the practice of good hand-washing has been a well-kept secret all these thousands of years, that it is actually a ground-breaking ritual for our society. It turns out that what I always thought to be a pre-requisite skill for admission into Kindergarten is actually a practice that more belongs under the heading of #adulting. We’ve experienced the flu, Swineflu, salmonella, chickenpox, smallpox, pink eye, diphtheria, pertussis, Ebola, the bubonic plague . . . ! But it took the Coronavirus Pandemic for us to finally decide it was time to master the fine art of bubbles and suds. Ok, soap box done.
Some of us have been using Coronavirus time to become physically stronger—like the guy who’s been running around the block every afternoon or those tire-flipping Cross-Fitters at the canal. But almost all of us, even those of us who prefer blogging to jogging, have had our emotional and mental capacities pushed to the limit. We’ve been following a rigorous conditioning regimen— CrossFit for the brain and spirit. We may be sore, we may be getting swoll, we may feel totally beat. But we’re on our way to getting ripped; becoming more mentally and emotionally resilient. We’re learning to toughen up, Buttercup. Apparently you have to go through a cheese grater to get shredded. And it hurts.
3.) More Resourceful
I’ve had an email address since I was 13 years old, back when MySpace was still all the rage. How many thousands of emails have I received since then . . . and I’ll tell you one email I never received until the COVID19 Crisis: Recipe Shares! The last time someone gave me a recipe without my asking them for it was my bridal shower over a decade ago, and even then I think that’s only because I come from a family of cooks. But this spring I have received several Recipe Share invitations. At last, we’re cooking again! We’re using what we have, and making things from scratch. . . like broth and jams and bread. . . many for the first time in their lives.
4-5.) More Present & Intentional
We’re spending more time with our loved ones and kids, and doing more intentional and focused activities together. Bigger quantity and better quality.
6.) More Minimal & Self-Sustaining
Whether we are happy about it or not, we’ve been banished from the shops and malls. We’re getting back into nature, getting back to basics, clearing clutter, baking bread, planting victory gardens.
7.) More Flexible
We’re learning to multitask and balance working from home, and being stay-at-home parents—juggling work, household chores, homeschool, and trying to keep everyone healthy and somewhat sane and happy along the way.
8.) More Well-Read
Ok, yes, many are arguably just becoming more well . . . watched. But I’ve heard so many people mention how they’ve started reading again during these Coronavirus weeks. Parents are reading more to their kids—and loving it. My husband, who is in residency and never has time to have his nose in anything other than a textbook, read three novels to our son while he was home from work, and an additional two just to himself. . . the first novels he’s read since high school.
9.) More Discerning
If you are looking for a silver-lining in all of this, I have one for you. People are FINALLY beginning to question the media. Some question whether the media is under-reporting for some hidden motive, others question whether the media is over-reporting for some unknown agenda. Some accuse the government or the CDC or even big Pharma of having more information than is being communicated to the general public. But whether we suspect exaggerating, exploiting, downplaying, or concealing . . . the common-denominator is that overall people are becoming less gullible, and slowly and surely more discerning.
10.) More Skilled
Did #adulting get real this year or what??? Necessity, it turns out, is the mother of learning (or re-learning) basic life-skills! It’s been the spring of DIY, pull up your big-girl or big-boy pants, and get ‘er done!
11.) More Creative
The kids have been getting cooped up, or we have . . . or both! A lot of us have been pulling creativity out of our butts these days and it’s been colorful and a little bit wild. We’ve been taking back up our old hobbies, or starting new ones!
12.) More Grounded and Centered
Even if it’s been driving us crazy, it’s been a time of practicing peace and learning to just . . . be.
13-14.) More Connected & Involved
We’ve been watching out for loved ones, especially the ones who are alone during this time. We’ve been checking in more often with grandparents and friends across the globe. We’ve been joining car parades or volunteering to deliver groceries. There are everyday heroes emerging in our communities, restoring our hopes in humanity.
15.) More Thankful
For simple pleasures and the ability or freedom to get out and about. For all the things we’ve taken for granted for years… including our jobs, and . . . toilet paper. For doctors and nurses and medical staff. For restaurants and take-out and grocery stores and the employees who work there. For farmers and truckers and food. For teachers and hairdressers and dog groomers. For plumbers, and roofers, and electricians. For the USPS and UPS and FedEx and all those Prime peeps. For our families and friends and our kids. . . for life.
16.) More Authentic and Self-Realized
Many of us have had more time on our hands for self-reflection; time to ask ourselves what the heck we are doing and why the heck we are doing it. Others of us have had time away from the countless distractions that we use to waste time or have been confronted and affronted by all our vices in the face of being free to over-indulge. In other words, we have had time to realize how much we squander.
17-18.) More Passionate & Driven
There has been a quickening of pulse around the world— have you felt it? Complacency and comfort has acted the thief for far too long. Many are discovering or regaining their purpose and passion or simply deciding, once and for all, to just go for it! Because if not now . . . then when?
19.) More Visionary
Only when the future is in question do we tend to wake up and fully grasp the preciousness of life and all that we want to see and do in the world…before it’s too late. Of course, the future is always in question, but often, when the going is good or “normal” we forget that it’s not a given. Well, the going is not so good these days and it’s certainly not “normal”! We are looking to the future while we are grid-locked in the present. We are questioning, projecting, brainstorming, shaping, and envisioning life after Coronavirus ends.
And so we come to the end of our “Sheltering in PEACE” journey. Thanks for joining me! If you missed a post of three, click here: “Isolation Blues” Archive
I’m so excited for the next series that will begin this week! Stay tuned!
Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~