I live in downtown Jerusalem, where until a few months’ ago there were stabbings regularly happening almost every week (and during one really horrible period of time, almost every day…).
When terrorists aren’t trying to stab people and / or shoot them and / or run them down on purpose, my neighborhood is actually really pretty safe and genteel. But the trouble is, you really never know when the next ‘Ahmed the stabber’ is going to show up, and there’s something about trying to go to sleep when your teens are out of the house that seem to bring all these paranoid fears rapidly boiling to the surface.
So here we are, stuck in a paradigm where they (rightly…) want to have the freedom to be teens, and to do the things that teens like to do in the middle of the night, while I (rightly…) want to be able to sleep at least six hours a night so my brain doesn’t completely dissolve and drip out my ears.
I’m typing this on around four hours’ sleep, and I can literally barely see straight.
Which brings me to another point I’ve been pondering recently, about how so much of what we’re regularly taught is COMPLETELY NECESSARY FOR HEALTH can only really happen in a people-less, hermetically-sealed bubble.
It seems that health gurus that preach the benefit of 8-9 hours sleep every single night, and the importance of getting to bed by 10pm, just don’t have teens to contend with. Or small children. Or elderly parents, who often have their own dramas and difficulties that we need to help out with. Or friends. Or social lives (unless you count all those obsessive, daily ‘hot yoga’ classes). Or spouses who don’t always fit their nervous breakdowns, cries for help, late nights at work and desire to have an evening out into the ‘ONLY BEFORE 10PM’ box.
Not that my teens are only trying to kill me by severely biting into my beauty sleep. In the past, they’ve also tried to kill me by absolutely refusing to pretend that probiotic sauerkraut is a salad, the sugar-free anything is eatable, that brown bread - and brown pasta and brown rice - is just as tasty as the real, white deal, and by forcing me to make at least two suppers a day - healthy for me, and yummy for them.
At the height of my healthy-food obsession, I was getting into regular fights with my kids (who were not even teens, at that stage) because they (rightly…) didn’t want to be forced into eating stuff they didn’t like just because it was healthy, and I (rightly…) didn’t want to be making them white pasta - which they absolutely love to bits!!! Especially with tons of high-fat cows’ cheese grated all over it!!! - that was also giving them stomach aches, zits and mucous issues.
Again, I come back to the idea that the healthy eating fanatics that insist that their kids just LURVE all that sprouted stuff, and kale cookies, and avocado chocolate mousse (which btw IS really yummy…) either have kids that are completely different from mine in every way, shape and form and / or are complete control freaks who give their kids no free choice and / or are lying.
But my teens aren’t going anywhere soon - thank God! - so I have to continue trying to figure out how to tread that fine line between doing enough to stay healthy, without causing them to go completely insane by insisting that I have everything my own way, all the time.
God gave me my teens. God made teens temporarily retarded, so they think they don’t need to sleep properly and eat enough, and they forget that while they get to sleep in until 2pm in the afternoon, other people in the house actually have jobs to do, and errands to run, that require them to be awake much, much earlier.
In the meantime, I’m learning that while 10 hours sleep is nice, five hours sleep is also doable, at least some of the time. If you don’t mind feeling like a zombie, sprouting a whole bunch of wrinkles and losing all pretense of coherent thought.