And his heart grew three sizes that day

I have never wanted to ruin Christmas, steal children’s presents, and generally be a meanie. I am not the Grinch.

I am an anti-social, grump who prefers the company of books and the internet to real people. I find it easier to relate to inanimate objects than I do to living things. Perhaps part of it is this ADHD brain thingy I have, maybe some of it is because well, I am an anti-social grump.

I like people just fine, especially pretty women (no not the movie) because I am a flirt. It is kind of a challenge being anti-social but also being a flirt. There should be a university degree in it because it really is difficult. I was going to write that I married my pretty woman but again, that might give the wrong impression.

For the longest time, not being friendly worked for me. Small social groups before I moved to Canada meant that I could pretty much sneak off without saying too many goodbyes. Some people were upset by this but it was the easiest way for me to do it.

Since I moved to Canada I have made friends, often against my own will. I still have a very small social circle simply because I don’t go out to the bars every night. I work in London but live in St. Thomas which means I cannot socialize with work mates as I try my hardest not to drink even one pint and drive. I am Ok with this.

Since the St. Thomas Blog came into existence though, things have begun to change. To be honest, things were already moving in that direction. A great friend at work had spent several years nagging and persuading me to become a better person by being social. Once the Blog began though, I found that I had to step up, speak to strangers and get myself ‘out there’.

It doesn’t come easily to me. I know some people think of ADHD as simply an excuse but it really does affect social skills. Often words bypass the brain before the insult can be filtered out. I also have an accent, even after nearly 13 years in Canada, I can be difficult to understand. That doesn’t help my confidence when I have to speak to someone new. I don’t want to have to repeat everything I say because it makes me feel more awkward than I already am.

Wow, I really do whine a lot don’t I!

Anyway, back to the heart growing stuff. This weekend just past I was involved in the Relay for Life, a 12 hour walk to raise money to fight cancer. All that was asked of me was to raise some money and be there for 12 hours. Obviously raising money, by taking pledges, is difficult because I hate to ask anyone for money. Luckily, I used email instead and it worked out much better. Being there for 12 hours was a great time. It was difficult to stay awake at times (so I didn’t), my back hurt (as usual) and I developed an interesting blister on the inside of a toe!

I would do it again in a heart beat.

To see the cancer survivors walking around the track was a very moving moment to me. Their courage and determination to fight this disease made me feel as if I was lacking something. These people looked at death straight in the face, and then went and had Tim Hortons. They battled. I would have probably run away screaming in 15 different languages. These people are awesome.

I am not saying that I am going to become all sunshine and light, way too much of a challenge for one so set in his ways, but thanks to the support and urging of friends and colleagues as well as the non stop support, love and belief in me from my wife, I do find myself trying to become a better person.

If I smile at someone and hold open a door for them, I feel good about myself. If I stop the car so someone standing in the rain can cross the road, I feel good (and dry). If I volunteer my very poor website building services, I feel stressed, panicked but eventually good about helping out someone.

This doesn’t mean I am going to be a more outgoing person, I still don’t sing Karaoke in front of anyone except my wife and kids, I don’t try to be the life of the party if I can stand in the kitchen and drink alone. I am a very complicated man, that will never change but maybe, just maybe I can become more like the person I should perhaps be.

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