Sonder

We were driving on the freeway, on a road trip I believe it was, when I blurted "There are so many people out there," as I stared at each car that passed us, that were alongside us, and those up ahead. "There's, like, different people in each of these cars. Living different lives. Going different places. Worrying about their own problems." 

It sounds random and apparent but as it turns out, there's a term for this epiphany. As Seth Godin put it, "Sonder is defined as that moment when you realize that everyone around you has an internal life as rich and as conflicted as yours." 

We obviously all know we all lead different lives but at that particular moment, it sunk in a deeper way as if for the first time and the realization was wild. Here I am, work stuff regularly crossing my mind, worried about my parents and other elders in my life, yo-yo'ing with my attempt to lead a healthier lifestyle, things on my to-do list constantly interrupting my thoughts, thinking about my bank account, personal responsibilities...the train of thoughts seemingly endless.

I live in my own world of struggles and preoccupations, same as everyone else, so engrossed in it that the thought of millions, no billions, of other lives or worlds existing out there blew me away. Each day is experienced in a billion different ways. For some, it was their lucky day. For others, it could have been one of their worst. And for many, it was a repeat of yesterday, an exact replica of yet the day before that.

And yet, despite our differences, we remain the same. Someone in Australia is having the same doubts as I am. I am as worried about my aging parents as someone in Mexico. Someone in Florida is also struggling with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. To take it further, someone, somewhere, back in the 1940's battled with the exact same issues. The problems are the same, just the timing, version, and people involved are different.

Our similarity comes as good news. Because someone, somewhere, some time ago has already gone through what you're going through and not just managed to come out of it alive, but turned their life around for the better. They found the solution. Overcame their fears. Took action despite the uncertainty.

It's good news because whatever you're going through, there's a silver lining. There is hope. The answer is out there. And it also already exists in you. And maybe you were meant to not know just yet. Maybe it isn't supposed to be so easy to iron out. Maybe you need to experience the struggle. To rack your brain. To reach your breaking point and decide to soldier on anyway. Because what you do next could be something someone, somewhere, in 2044 might hear or read about and tell themselves, "If she could do it, so can I."

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