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Definition: the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.


The other day I was walking around an outdoor mall where I live and I was looking for a purse. I was specifically looking for a black leather purse with a long strap and a gold zipper. This got me to thinking that everyone at that mall was there for their own specific reasons just like I was. Everyone was wearing different shoes, clothes, jewelry, even deodorant. Everyone came in a different car that they bought for different reasons or maybe rode with their friends they met long ago.

I've thought about this sensation before. I was talking to my friend about this last night and was explaining to him how weird it was to me how different all of our lives are but how so many of us come intertwined at some point. He explained there's a word for this concept: sonder. I've always lived my life from my point of view. Of course, I have had empathy for others, but I've never quite grasped the concept that we are all really alive in this world.

Each of us has had to get up in the morning, brush our teeth, drink some coffee, and go to work. All of us cry all of us go through heartbreak. Everyone is special in their own way, but at the same time, we are all the same. This is such a relieving realization because all this time I have been so caught up in my own life and emotions that I haven't looked up to realize that everyone around me is going through the same exact life as me, just through different experiences.

Maybe I'm just a little late to open my eyes to this, but I hope I helped someone out by publishing this article. Realizing this is a real thing is so relieving to me because I know that whatever happens to me has also happened to thousands or even millions of other people and that I can get through it. It's also very humbling to know that whatever I have accomplished so many others have also accomplished the same things.

Whoever you are reading this, just think about "sonder" there next time you are in a big crowd of people. Pay attention to families, peoples' clothes, what people have chosen to eat, and even what people have come to that place for. This concept is so interesting to me and I hope it's sparked an interest in you too.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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