A hybrid life
This year, I am teaching students on a hybrid schedule. They are divided into two groups and attend school in person on alternating days. On the other days, they log into my virtual class from home via Google Meet.
Because this way of teaching and learning is new to everyone, students and teachers alike are struggling to adjust.
I, however, am not.
I’m sure this puts me in the extreme minority, but going with the flow is something I’ve learned to do in response to challenges and upheaval. I can pivot on a dime. Transitions and changes don’t bug me out; in fact, I often welcome change because I tend to get bored with the status quo and seemingly never-ending prosaic quality of the workaday life.
We live in the district where I teach, which means my sons are following the hybrid schedule, too. Granted, we’ve had to learn some new routines — and technology — but these haven’t been too difficult. This year, I’m teaching remotely every day, and the hardest part for me has been trying to stay focused on my students while at the same time, supervising my sons to make sure they’re staying on task with their virtual lessons.
Adjusting to a hybrid schedule was easy once I changed my mindset, because when you think about it, we are always living life in some kind of hybrid state.
Merriam-Webster defines the adjective form of hybrid as: “having or produced by a combination of two or more distinct elements : marked by heterogeneity in origin, composition, or appearance.”
A combination of two or more distinct elements: isn’t that what life’s all about?
As children, we have a life at school and a life at home, and each arena comes with its own unique relationships, challenges, routines, and norms that we are constantly learning to navigate.
As adolescents, we live in a dreamworld that only happens once in our lives: a years-long journey across the bridge from childhood to adulthood. As one hand stretches back into our past, desperately clinging to the ghost of our childhood, the other hand reaches forward, fingers outstretched, searching for hope in the blurry unknown. The bridge is fraught with obstacles, lessons, and often, tragedies, which either strengthen or impair us.
As adults, we barely enter into a new chapter of our lives before we begin planning for the next. Similar to politicians who begin campaigning for reelection the day after being sworn in, we can’t relish the present moment, as we are invariably conjuring up the past and planning for the future.
Once I began seeing this hybrid pattern to life, I haven’t thought of a single situation that isn’t a hybrid of some sort.
- Maybe we’re struggling to enjoy the single life because we’re still grieving our last relationship, or actively looking for a mate — or both.
- When we find someone and fall in love, it’s just a matter of time before we either break up or get married.
- Once we’re married, we check off that box and focus on either obtaining the next promotion at work or starting a family.
- We look for a new job before leaving the old one, or perhaps, we’re still adjusting to being unemployed while simultaneously looking for a job.
- And on and on…
Obviously, we need to plan for the future, but we often end up straddling two stages of life or two sets of circumstances, and we forget to enjoy the stage or the circumstances we’re in.
While the hybrid life may be unavoidable, especially now, we would all do well to be more mindful of where we are, instead of where we’re going.
This reminds me of one of my favorite songs, “Mushaboom,” by Feist. There is one lyric she sings that speaks perfectly to this:
“And we’ll collect the moments one by one
I guess that’s how the future’s done…”
I’ve decided to shift my mindset once more; this time, I’ll focus on collecting the moments one by one.
And let the future take care of itself.