Brace yourself (or just take a nap, in Europe)

I long to be two things: A person who can function with less sleep, and one of those people who readily squeezes into a subway train as the doors are closing.

I tried the latter once, and was shocked by how hard the NY subway doors slammed into me. My friend, who witnessed the incident warned me, “You gotta brace yourself.” Admittedly, I’m not very good at bracing myself. I missed the train just today because of those damn violent doors.

Regarding the former, I was reading an article in the Wall Street Journal about Short Sleepers – people who function optimally with less than six hours of sleep a night. The theory is that these superhumans carry a genetic factor that makes them upbeat, slim, and able to get by really well with something like 4 hours of sleep. (Yeah, that’s fair.) The patterns supposedly start to manifest in childhood, a la two-year-olds who forfeit nap time and aren’t cranky. I envy those two-year-olds.

On eight or more hours of sleep, some days I can still barely keep my head straight. At least once a month, I seriously contemplate quitting my life and moving to the south of France (where I’ve never even been to by the way) and living a fantasy life in which I wear sundresses year round, peddle around on a beach bicycle with an adorable basket (I don’t ride bikes by the way) that on a daily basis holds an assortment of fruits, vegetables, baguette and cheese from the farmer’s market. I have a cappuccino and croissant for breakfast every morning whilst in my silken robe on my terrace overlooking the blue, blue Mediterranean. For all this, I never gain a pound (all the biking, you see) and whimsically decide to wade into the sea on afternoons where I have nothing more to do but browse the market, sip beverages, laze in cafes and on patches of grass, read to my heart’s content, and cook fabulous meals that I share with sophisticated and silly friends. Bursts of unending laughter are the soundtrack to my life filled with passion and freedom.

Speaking of freedom, I was sitting next to an elderly woman on my shuttle bus the other morning. She turned to me and offered up, “I just got back from Florida.” So we struck up a conversation whereby I learned that she’s a New Yorker born and bred, but she has a secret desire to up and move to Florida, which as she admits “I find uninteresting, but the life sure is easy.” I asked her why she doesn’t go for it, pack up and relo to Boca, and she said she would if not for her kids and grandkids all being here. A valid reason indeed, but kind of a bummer too.

Her quandary is a familiar one. My one friend swore for years on end that she’d move to an island and run a fruit shake stand, but she never has. Another friend posts online that she wants to move away and live a relaxed existence, but something unnamed is stopping her. As for me, I’m in love and I choose not to be in my fantasy world without my sweetie (also, don’t I need a visa or something to live in the south of France?). But believe me, I’m planting bugs in his ear about our European life (which he has yet to buy into, but am hopeful he will one day before I’ve got kids and grandkids I’m shackled to too).

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