Everyone has a story, as vivid and complex and weird as yours. This isn’t something you think about when you walk down the street, passing dozens of strangers that you’ll likely never see again. But it is inherently true. They all have stories. You are not the main character. You are a small piece in a sprawling, chaotic world.

There is a website – and now a YouTube channel – called The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. They wrap profound concepts into tiny little word packages. And they call this sonder.


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.


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