Content Warnings: Anxiety, self-deprecation
What is my worth? Out of the 8 billion people who exist, what value do I have? Outside my family and friends, I am just a passerby sitting in a coffee shop. Despite this, I have control over a life as intricate as everyone who passes by me. This idea of sonder, realizing everyone has a life just as complex as yours, has been a lingering thought in me for as long as I can remember.
From the golden foil of a candy bar to the atoms making up a matte black paint, everything carries a history just as valuable as its past, present, and future. This simple, yet unfathomable, concept results in anxiety within me that I continuously try to grasp; though I have never fully succeeded. If I am of such little significance to the human population, why should I be motivated to move forward and work towards trivial goals?
Thinking back, I was fortunate enough to be given the chance to visit China a few months ago. There, I met dozens of unique and bright individuals, but there was one person who especially caught my attention. His name was Deng He, and he worked at Zhengzhou’s People’s Hospital as a nurse. His parents were living in the countryside at the time, so they had to travel a long way in order to reach healthcare facilities. At first, he became a nurse because he wanted to help move his parents to the city for a better quality of life. However, his passion for nursing grew increasingly because of the lives he was able to impact. His motivation for moving forward was to release the restrictions that health puts on others.
Sonder is a beautiful concept. You and I may not know exactly where we’re headed, but we continue to take one step at a time, even if we may encounter trips or setbacks. For every passerby, there are a countless number of dreams that come and go into existence. Although I may not have a specific vision in mind yet, this idea of obtaining an objective is what motivates me to develop.