Sometimes I have those days, as we all do, where one second I’m scrolling through Instagram and the next second I look up and realize it’s been hours. I hate that feeling. I get frustrated with myself and then I try to detox from social media altogether. If I’m being honest, that doesn’t ever really work. I wake up the next morning and check Instagram all over again. This may sound pitiful, but I’m sure (I hope) people relate. It’s more or less the culture we live in.
In the wake of a day like that, Martin Luther King Jr. day rolled around. Every MLK day for several years now my dad has this tradition where he takes 17 minutes out of his day to listen to MLK’s I Have a Dream speech. Sometimes he listens to it in the car on the way to work, and other years he watches it on his phone after dinner. Every year, without fail, he listens to this speech.
So this MLK day I decided to follow my dad’s tradition and watch the I Have a Dream speech on my phone while on the elliptical. I was surprised at just how much it meant to me to watch, and how special it felt to absorb Martin Luther King Jr.’s words. I had watched it before at some point but it had been a while. I loved hearing it again. Additionally, watching the 17-minute speech prompted me to notice a lack of daily engagement in my life. Sure I go to class, read interesting books for school, go to club meetings, workout, and everything else. Sometimes I forget, however, to take a few minutes to simply engage with what interests and inspires me. I think this could mean a lot of different things. Some days, this could mean I make sure to catch up on the news or read the New York Times daily emails I’m subscribed to. Other days this could mean I read a chapter of a book I’ve told myself I’d start. I want to spend more time actually following up when I tell people “Oh I’ll look into that” or “I’ve been meaning to read that.” The truth is that I do say these things and a lot of times I never actually follow through. I mean to, but I get caught up in the day-to-day hustle.
While deep in thought on the elliptical, I realized that there’s hardly any point in going through these cycles where you waste time on Instagram and then try to stop going on your phone altogether. My goal for myself is to add. I want to add 17 minutes a day of making sure I engage in what I’m interested in. Yes, I know that 17 minutes isn’t much, but I do think that I need to start somewhere and sometimes one has to make a conscious effort. I don’t want to look back at days and feel like I wasted them entirely. So, for me, 17 minutes is a good start.