One of my mantras is “growing up is overdone and overrated.” But the same cannot be said about breathing.

A few days ago, my daughter picked up my grand-dog, Gus, after a three-week stay at my place. And I can now breathe, which is a good thing.

I'd been suffering from asthma over the past three months. It started mildly, but kept getting worse, to the point where I was using my inhaler several times a day. Breathing easy now held a new meaning to me. But after I started taking systemic and then inhaled steroids, I saw some relief. Until a few days after Gus showed up for his three week stay.

The In credible String Band

The In credible String Band

It took me a good fortnight before it occurred to me that perhaps there was a correlation between my lingering asthma and Gus. Experimenting, I started taking a daily dose of and antihistamine. And finally, I became asthma-free. That's when I came to realize just how badly it had affected me—not only did it slow me down physically, but it also kept me in a mental fog. I couldn't exercise, and more importantly, taking Gus for walks in the cold air was not an option. My teaching wasn't quite up to par, and my writing suffered.

Breathing means a lot to me. As The Incredible String Band's song “Air” goes:

You come right inside of me
Close as you can be
You kiss my blood and the blood kiss me.