The Rip Current of Being Alive

The most delicious word in the English language:

is the realization
that everybody around you,
even strangers,
are living a life as complex
as your own.

I experienced sonder before knowing there was a term for it.

As a kid I would peer up at airplanes and wonder who on the flight had just fallen in love. I’d wonder precisely how many people were dying in the exact moment it took to zap my Hot Pocket. Lately I wonder what’s playing in people’s minds as they stare at a bottle of vitamins at Target. 

“Maybe Tina is right. I should buy the nipple clamps.”

As a funeral worker, sonder hits me very acutely with newfound tension. 

On my way to pick up a body:
I drive past a Shutterstock family playing basketball at the house around the corner.

After leaving a hoarding scene:
I see teens in immaculate prom dresses taking selfies.

As I process the tiny remains of a stillborn:
I hear two friends screaming Cardi B lyrics as they bike past the funeral home.

This duality is strange. We all know there is concurrent good and bad, but never in my life have they been so closely stacked. What can we take away from this that hasn’t been written on a sappy card? How can we apply it to being better humans to each other? 

Consider my shortlist:

-Pain is everywhere. But so is pleasure. Fixate on just one of these and you cheat yourself and everyone around you.

-No one’s shit is any more or less important than anyone else’s. 

-The world would be a better place if we got lost in other people’s thoughts.