Single Again… Important

By Kenneth Stepp

I’ve been called an overthinker. I’ll admit that’s fair. Having said that, I sometimes overthink the wrong things. I discovered this recently about myself. Last week I drove about 500 miles north to my family farm to visit my mom. I usually visit her every other month but recently opened a new business that gobbled up all my time.

I was literally at work, answering calls, setting up meetings with clients and doing what I do daily. I realized I had not seen my mom this year. I’ve never deserved the parents I had but this one surprised even me. I can’t believe I allowed this business, making money take priority over my mom. 

I love quotes. Especially the ones that make me think and remind me to do what’s right. I was reminded of one that I’ve used when speaking with friends about priorities and now mine were messed up. “The urgent screams but the important whispers”. My new business was so loud. My mom didn’t say a word. Only that she’d be there when I came.

I believe this is a human condition. We all tend to put out the fires first while the things that aren’t on fire just sit and wait for our attention and many times they are never tended to at all. You see this is natural for us to do. Because I’m an overthinker I did a deep dive into where else I did this in my life.

I’ve done this in every part of my life. I was married for 24 years to the same woman. What did I miss while putting out fires that now I don’t even remember? We divorced in 2013. How much did the urgent cause our marriage to be on the back burner? What other relationships have I damaged by allowing what isn’t important to damage what is?

The urgent is loud, the urgent is in your face. Looking back the urgent is usually money oriented and the important has always been a person. Always a person who meant a lot to me. Yet I couldn’t see the forest for the trees. People, of course, are the forest and the trees were the urgent.

Relationships are always fragile. They are also good at seeming stronger than they really are. I stopped everything, I suspended advertising and headed north. I spent 2 nights on the farm at my moms house. We talked about everything and nothing at the same time. 

I left feeling better that I saw my mom, she’s so special. Funny too. And I felt better about myself. Why? Because I caught my priorities off and corrected them. I only wish I won this my whole life but know I haven’t. Maybe I’ll do better next time… Maybe.

I write about relationships a lot but catch myself not doing them right often. The urgent screams but the important whispers. What’s important to me are the people in my life. The one’s I’m related to, friends with or whatever relationship I have with them. The urgent is the enemy of relationships of all kinds. I can do better. I think we all can…

Love people, use things. Money is just another thing…

I’ll add this story: My dad was an amazing father. He was a veteran, an alpha male and a great dad. Near the end he had dementia and was in a veterans home. I felt compelled to visit him. I drove the 500 miles and sat down at a table with him. He thought I was his little brother, Charlie. Normally I corrected him and said, dad, I’m your son, Kenneth. This time I let him speak with Charlie.

He told me about the place he was in and how his life was for a while. Then I drove south for 500 miles. The next morning my brother called to tell me dad passed during the night. I’m so glad I listened to the whisper that time. I had plenty of urgent at that time. Think about the people in your life right now. They really are important…


  1. This is a really nice write up. I totally agree with the importance of making time for family, loved one’s and friends before money. Passion before profit is what I always say. I finally figured out how to maintain a balance of having two careers, and keep family close without having to compromise ” time ” for everything. I stopped looking for a partner on every dating site, every community forum, and thinking every woman I looked at was my soul mate. I lost my Mother 12 years ago, you’re fortunate, its a shame though that you lost time with her.

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