Sonder and Sonderous


Most people have a strong reaction when the realize that they now have a word that describes one of those lazy day moments or deep introspective flashes.

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but there are times when I catch  a glimpse of a person or hear something they’ve said and I realize for the briefest of moments that a universe of space and ideas occurs every single second of this life. I can picture a long succession of moments, millions of them, all tied to that person, many of them spectacular and different from what most people might experience. We are all tromping around together in this world but I’m more certain as I age that many have no idea that life is as much about ideas and connections in one’s mind as it is about interacting with the world.

Sometimes I would characterize the fleeting thought of sonder as a distant relative of loneliness, although it would be more accurate to say its more akin to separateness. Not just of me from “you,” but also a separation of my own focus from what could be. Our lives basically force us into a superficial attitude toward most other people – and we lose that tenuous spiraling ability to recognize the potential.

I can only imagine the world if we were all a tad more creative and forthcoming with those around us.

I imagine a life of unending moments such as those sonderous moments. (I created a new adjective there.) Each of my life’s moments, even the monotonous ones, would become fascinating. The people we casually pass as we cross the street, intent in our own secret lives, the ideas that might be cascading around in their heads.

It’s likely that most people will assume I hit my head with this post or lingered too long next to bus exhaust. But really it is striking to me how monumentally awesome our minds can be, surrounded by so many other capable brains. And yet we talk about millionaires bouncing rubber balls, or whether one other people’s religion is better.


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