I was standing at the sink washing the lunch dishes when it hit me - this is the life I want. Seriously. Because after I washed the dishes, I could choose what I did next, and it didn't have to be something productive. I could scrapbook. I could read. I could return to the writing project I was working on this morning. I could take a nap! I'm on vacation, so the possibilities (budget notwithstanding) are endless!!
Best of all, it didn't feel as though a clock was ticking in the back of my mind, as my to-do list scrolled endlessly. The to-do list is still there, but something about not trying to cram it all into a few hours in the evening, or a 48-hour weekend makes it seem less daunting. In fact, the to-do list is probably longer because the time frame is longer, but I feel as though I have the freedom to mix in "just for me" activities anywhere I please, rather than saving them as a reward for completing the things that are necessary but not necessarily desirable.
And so I have come to the conclusion that the best thing about summer vacation isn't free time - it's free choice. The freedom to do what I want is wonderful, but the freedom to choose what I do and when I do it is amazing.
Now that's a vacation!