The Other Side of the Coin

Crazy or not, here we come!!!

By a Slightly Petrified Ryan

Don’t get me wrong. As I sit here, I feel very blessed that we have the opportunity to travel and see the world for the next 11 months. That said, for the past week I have been wracked with the kind of anxiety that makes a person’s stomach feel as if it’s being turned inside out and their brain set to a high speed spin cycle. Lately, I find myself panting more often than I care to admit.

Am I nervous because our two year old son is more destructive than a tornado? NO QUESTION.

Am I scared that I will not get a good night sleep for a year as Ollie thrashes around like a school of piranhas in a bed all three of us will share? CLEARLY.

Am I on edge that I have had a recurring stomach pain for years and that I will probably require diaper changes more often than Ollie? CERTAINLY.

Am I a little off because I made the decision not to get life insurance on my wife? YES, AS THERE ARE ABOUT 3 MILLION MORE REASONS FOR HER TO LEAVE ME STRANDED ON A STREET CORNER IN NEW DELI THAN VICE VERSA.

Do the constant questions/concerns from family and friends have me thinking a little more than usual? ABSOLUTELY and YES WE HAVE A TRACKING SYSTEM FOR OLLIE (thank you Olivia and Dan), A HARNESS AND LEASH (anything more could only be found at a pet store that services wild boars), and AN IDENTIFICATION BRACELET THAT WOULD MAKE THE ARMED FORCES PROUD.

Does the fact that I have been sober for almost 32 months weigh on me as I will have to re-construct the people, places and things that have helped in my recovery thus far? THIS IS ON MY MIND OFTEN AS MY SOBRIETY IS THE THING (BESIDES EMILY AND OLLIE) IN MY LIFE THAT I VALUE THE MOST.

The list could go on and on. So at this juncture I must reflect and ask myself, “how did I get in this predicament?” Well, for all of you men out there that are married to women like my Emy who suffer from a rare form of early on-set dementia (Dory in Finding Nemo has a better short-term memory than she does), my condolences in advance. While Emy/Dory can’t remember the mundane things, she vividly recalls a conversation we had three years ago (yes, I was still drinking at the time) when I told her that I wanted to pick up and travel the world. Clearly, I have only myself to blame, as on this particular date, I must have been trying a little too hard to win her over (and no, this night did not lead to the gift that keeps on giving, aka Ollie).

What can I do? The plane tickets are paid for, the travel insurance purchased, our house has been rented, the rabies shots have been administered, and Olivertheworld is alive and well. All I can do now is sit and reflect on what might have been. There is absolutely no question in my mind that it would have been much easier (and cheaper) to buy Emy the mini-donkey that she has always wanted or even install a petting farm in our backyard.

As I bring this to a close, I am constantly reminded of what I have learned over the past 32 months. By the grace of God, I have been given a gift and this gift has to be enjoyed and cherished one day at a time. A prayer comes to mind that I say to myself quite often and has gotten me through situations that will likely prove much more difficult than a 17 hour bus ride through the South of India. . . . .

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (the fact the three-ringed circus is leaving town on Monday)…

The courage to change the things I can (the amount of Benadryl I will have Ollie choke down on our 16 hour flight to Japan)…

And the wisdom to know the difference (when I cancel the three night hostel stay and upgrade the Bad News Bears to a 2-star hotel with a working shower).

While there is no question that Emy and I are totally nuts, I love my life and feel eternally grateful for all that I have been given. Afterall, for 13 years I was chained to a desk and had absolutely no perspective or balance.

I will take the anxiety any day as at least today I know that I am alive.


  1. I read your post with tears welling in my eyes, because I am so very proud of my best friend…for the man that he was, is and will be. You are a gift from God, Ryan. I will miss you, but am comforted as you leave on your journey knowing you are traveling with your three best friends (God, Emily and Ollie)…God speed to you all and enjoy every minute. I love all three of you.


  2. Mills,

    Thank you for your wonderful email. I love you as well and feel extremely blessed to have you as a best friend.

    Let's stay in touch via email, skype, etc.

    Please wish Ginnelle and the girls our best.

    I will miss you and I wish you only the best over the next year.



  3. OK. Now you guys have me in tears. Not sure if it's because I know oh so well the fear (or call it nervousness) that is running in your mind and it touches me in a place that I often don't like to go. Or, if it's because I know you are like a brother to Jason and the bond that two best friends share is one that I have never experienced in any of my friendship (therefore bringing up old issues for me). Or, just because you wrote from your heart and I love love love that!

    So while I sit here trying to analyze why I'm so touched and interrupt what you said into my own life and circumstances, I want to wish you the very best. Know that you are living your life uniquely yours. I love you ALL!

    "Calm, Be Still, Peace, Joy",

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