The most meaningful moments are not always what you’d think

Sparks from the bonfire at our destination. The journey there and back left me feeling much warmer, though.

Driving to and from “Fields of Fear” with my 15-year-old daughter, I experienced some of the most meaningful moments of the year. Trying to recapture the exhilaration we felt previously at the scary-ish Halloween farm festival, but getting a later start than we wanted after a busy day of catching up on work and chores, we were tired, and not quite going all-in to the experience. 

Looking back, I see now the destination itself was a flop for us that day. We’d kind of “been there, done that” and grown out of it. It was just OK—so “meh” that I’d say we don’t need to go again, at least not for a while. Pay $35 each for the privilege of paying $15 more for nachos—no meat, please! And cider? The hayride was alright. 

What was really magical was the drive there and back. My daughter and I sang together. We sang Taylor Swift songs. We breathed in to sustain our voices. We breathed out the familiar melodies, practicing phrasing, emoting vocally, catching our favorite parts of the songs in that special place where you feel pure joy. 

The act of singing together with someone else and the breathwork that comes with that—it was at once intoxicating and energizing to me. 

The road was dark and winding, making me low-key anxious at first, but I was soothed by the singing and felt a certain clarity from the increased oxygen intake from the breaths I took to project my voice. 

I felt inspired and in sync with my daughter, connected in the satisfying feeling of sharing a pleasure. Inspired—the word’s origins trace back to the Latin inspirare “breathe or blow into.” The word was originally used in reference to a divine or supernatural being, in the sense of “imparting a truth or idea to someone.”

Being present with a loved one and breathing are some pretty basic things—and yet so often overlooked. I’ve struggled in recent years with sometimes feeling disconnected from what matters most. I am grateful for the gift of this experience that lingers at the top of my most memorable moments of 2022, a year that included a promotion, a trip to Italy, and turning 50.

Taking some time as 2022 closes to imprint the feeling of this energy brought by such a simple and impromptu experience reminds me I can go back to these actions and generate this magic again in a time of need—and reminds me to stay open to joy everywhere and actively engage in firing up the sparks.