Be present

I generally like to think of myself as a good multitasker: I can walk Tracker while talking on the phone. I can watch a show while working on homework. I can write my posts while hanging out with Dan.

However, I’m becoming less and less sure that my ability to multitask is a good thing. Instead, I think that I am really just short-changing myself on some valuable experiences.

This is because, even though I am able to get dozens of things done, I am never truly present while doing them. My mind is always 10 steps ahead, worrying about what else there is to do — and, this comes at the detriment of my relationships, lessons and own ability to reflect.

I first acknowledged that about one year ago. Since that time, I’ve made a concerted effort to be more present in my day-to-day life. When I do something, I try to really do it and nothing else. In the more eloquent words of Ralph Waldo Emerson…

“With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now.”

For example, if I’m talking with someone, I really try to listen to what they’re saying. I know that may make it sound pathetic. I mean, what was I doing before? Not listening? But, the answer is yes. Many times, I was hearing and responding, but not really listening.

Still, it is a process and I can’t say that I am always successful. But, in the time that I’ve been working on it, I’ve been rewarded with even better relationships with my friends and family.

That’s worth it to me.

It’s also worth it to me to be present while eating my meals so I can savor all the flavors — especially when the flavors are as delicious as they were in tonight’s dinner.

Apple and Brie Panini


  • 8 slices whole-grain bread
  • 2 T buttery spread, melted
  • 1 apple, thinly sliced
  • 2 T all-natural jelly
  • 4 oz. brie cheese, sliced


  • Spread a thin layer of butter on both sides of all the bread.
  • Heat a grill pan to medium-high. Places two slices of bread down. Press down for 1-2 minutes, until grill marks appear. Flip and repeat.
  • Spread ~1/2 T jelly on one of the slices of toast. Top with 1/4 of the apple slices. In the opposite direction, add 1 oz. sliced brie. Top with other piece of toast.
  • Place sandwich back on the grill press and press down for another 1-2 minutes per side, until cheese is melted.
  • Repeat until four sandwiches are complete.

I’m just going to say it: This sandwich is incredible. With the toasty bread, the melty cheese and sweet apple slices, it’s basically perfect in my book.

Plus, it makes a great, easy dinner to serve up and share with Dan.

Less time in the kitchen for me = More time on the balcony with Dan. It’s a good equation.

And, it’s even more enjoyable when I don’t divide my time worrying about what else there is to do. That all works itself out later.

Questions: Would you say that you are good at being present? What tips help you “be present?”


9 responses to “Be present

  • Lucy Glover

    This week of incredible weather has made me stop and be in the moment physically. I hear the leaves, see the trees sway, and feel the gentle breeze. When natures beauty stops me there is nothing else that matters at that moment.

  • Amanda at the red table

    This is a great post — I struggle with the same thing. I rarely just do one thing. Generally, I’m juggling two, three, even four things at a time and probably doing none of them well.

    And the sandwich — oh! — I’m going to have to try this one! Lovely. Thanks!

  • Entrées «

    […] Apple and Brie Panini […]

  • sara @ the foodie diaries

    This is a great post. I’ve really struggled with being in the present lately. When I’ve been hanging out with my friends or family, I’ve been busy thinking or doing other things. Although I was watching a movie with my mom, I was editting pictures at the same time for my blog. I need to stop trying to multitask and really put everything I have into what I’m doing, the ONE thing I’m doing.

  • truepenny

    This is a great post! I remember when my husband and I started dating, he said one of the things he liked about me is that it seemed like when people were talking to me, I was really listening to what they were saying in that moment, instead of focusing on figuring out how I would respond when they were finished. So I know what you mean by not really listening. To this day, it’s probably the best compliment I’ve ever gotten, and whenever I feel myself not living in the “now” I try to remember it!

    Ironically, I am editing some freelance work, checking my e-mail and making coffee while I write this post, and have about 500 tabs up in my browser! Haha. We all need that reminder.

    Also I loooove apple and brie sandwiches. Yum.

  • caloricandcrazy

    that apple and brie sandwich looks SO amazing…

  • Worth Talking About Wednesday, 9/14 «

    […] treat — and, this week, I decided to splurge! I used part of the round a few days ago on my brie and apple panini. Today, I finished the cheese off by making spinach and artichoke […]

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