At 4:30 A.M., this corrective dream woke me:

In front of me stood a suntanned mom, her arms filled with kid books, her blonde toddler holding onto her jogging shorts. Then it was my turn at the counter. “You’ve a ten-cent fine,” said the librarian looking over her computer.

This dream felt like a particle of a larger one, but substantive enough to work with.

The ten-cent fine stands out.Admittedly, an annoyance, it speaks to the issue of contracts, including book rentals. The imposition of fines for late returns speaks of the library’s ownership of books and other materials on their shelves.

In the dream, I incurred such a fine, unlike my usual attentiveness to such matters. Paying the dime smarted: it was not the amount but “someone” had found out—I was not perfect.

On a deeper level, the fine serves as a wake-up call to my present circumstances. That “someone,” a unified voice of trusted family and friends, kept reminding me of how well I looked, much to me dismay. Eventually, I learned they were right.

Despite diseased lungs, I was not dying—not yet.

For too long, if I’m honest with myself, I have been harboring scenarios of my demise, lapping up others’ sympathy, concerns, gifts, and notes of loving prayer. In recovery circles, such obsessive thinking catastrophes the future.

It’s all about mindfulness, of pacing my ADLs lest further weakened by exhaustion—limited living, but living, nonetheless. Others have done this and so can I, with Higher Power’s help, each twenty-four hours.