Thursday, May 8, 2014

Nurse Kathy: Never too late to dream your dream

When the job losses that we remember as the economic crisis of 2008 hit some people, like me, we hunkered down and applied for every job in our field we could find. We competed with young whippersnappers with fresh degrees, no wrinkles or even less experience.  We were communicators, dang it, and that’s what we were going to do, that or retire. It’s too late to change.  

Then, there are folks like Kathy Stacey, my region communications manager teammate and sister from another mother.  For a while after her job was eliminated by the big company we worked for, she, like me, applied and applied. We ranked as finalists for communication jobs that went to younger or connected folks or just other folks, instead of us.

But Kathy – in her 50s -- then decided to reinvent herself.  And today, this writer, communicator and my personal hero got pinned as a REGISTERED NURSE -- the end of a long, expensive and difficult reinvention that will be healthcare’s gain and corporate communication’s loss.

It helped that Kathy is smart, that deep down high IQ smart.  But probably more important, Kathy is determined and hard-working. Spending the weekends working at a Texas Wal-Mart’s checkout line for the low pay and benefits, and saying “thanks for shopping Wal-Mart” probably a trillion times, Kathy went back to school. She started with completing her undergraduate work and then entered a rigorous registered nursing program. She took courses that would make this writer-word person break out in a sweat. But Kathy, she aced them. Again, and again.

Back in the day:
Kathy Stacey and I shared
presidential suite in Washington D.C.
as we learned to be lobbyists, circa 2006.

I’m so proud of Kathy that I want to shout it and shout the lesson her success, hard work and smarts proved so true: It’s never too late to dream your dream.

Kathy reinvented herself, retrained and today she is living her dream of being a registered nurse. It's official today, as she got her R.N. pin along with (I’m guessing and based on the pictures I’ve seen) a bunch of younger people.

Kathy is going to be a great nurse, just like she was a great communicator and writer, and Wal-Mart checkout associate. Hard work, smarts, determination = dreaming your dream.

For me, since the job elimination Kathy and me (and a bunch of others) have in common, I’ve looked for communication work, worked, started a blog, spent a year caring for a critically ill son, been published and wrote and revised my first novel, a dream of my own. Being published after I finish the latest fine-tuning of my book with the help of professional editor Carolynne Scott -- that would be a real dream come true for me.

But, still, I did not have the gumption, want-to, forward thinking focus or determination of my Kathy. Oh, and all the while during classes and tests and clinicals and weekends at Wal-Mart, Kathy beat me at Words with Friends, our current constant connection, nine out of ten times (and I’m pretty good at WWF).

I saw this quote yesterday, and thought of Kathy, who I officially congratulate today.  C.S. Lewis, author of the play The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and apparently one of the most quoted authors on Twitter, said it well:

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”  -- C.S. Lewis.

Kathy Stacey, R.N., is living, working proof of this statement. I salute her and hold her up as a shining example for all those 40 and 50-somethings (or even 20 or 30, 60 or any number-somethings) who have had their worlds changed by the economy and life itself.

Dream your dream.  It is not too late. 

Picture of the day:

Kathy Stacey, R.N. in training, circa 2012.

Song of the day:
With a nod to Texas, where Kathy lives today and will work as an R.N., (She's lived in Great Britain, South Carolina and Oklahoma, among other places)  I'll quote Texas great Billy Joe Shaver, singer, songwriter, my Honky Tonk Hero and one who knows about dreaming dreams.

Try and Try Again, by Billy Joe Shaver

"If at first you don't succeed
Try, try, again
If at first you don't succeed
Just try and try again
If all you do is lose
You better find a way to win
If at first you don't succeed          
Try and try again

I know someday the world will learn to sing a better song
The blind will see, the deaf will hear; we'll all just sing along
The fighting will be ended and all hunger will all be gone
It's everybody's business 'til we get the good work done."


  1. Great tribute to your friend & former co-worker, Jackie! Congratulations, Kathy! Your patients will be blessed to have you!

  2. Still one of the best writers ever, still one of the best communication teams ever and still miss each and every one of you. :) Susan

  3. My Jackie is the greatest. How I miss her! Do I feel honored to have been the subject of one of her very special writings? You bet I do. Cannot wait until the novel becomes a reality. I will be purchasing one of the first copies in print, and asking for it to be signed. I love you, Jackie Romine Walburn, truly a sister from another mother.

  4. That's my Sis. Thanks for taking the time to recognize her achievments. It has been a long road for her!