The Word Sonder

23 July 2018:

Today I came home from work and wrote in Sharpie the word sonder* on the calendar above my desk.

Odd. Why do that?

Because I heard it used earlier. Because I heard it used earlier and want to remember it. Because I want to remember what it means. Because it means a great deal. Because it’s worth remembering. Because its meaning is worth remembering. Because its remembering is important to me.

Because there are a million things I’ll never know existed. Because a million things exist.

Because every person in the world is not a passing figure. Because to someone today I was a passing figure. Because today I passed a dozen passing figures.

Because of invisible stories.

Because the person at the coffee shop. Because the bartender. Because the tourist. Because the neighbor. Because each and every one is living a story as unlikely, as complex, as vivid as mine.

Because it is a new word. Because words are still invented. Because someone cared enough to invent a new word. Because someone is dedicating their life to inventing new words. Because someone knows there is not a word for every emotion. Because every emotion does not have a word.

Because, sometimes, the world needs a word. Because, sometimes, the world is looking for a word.


* sonder

  1. n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s