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On waiting for life to start

I’ve had this passage from The Steep Approach to Garbadale by Iain Banks (pg 302-203) stuck in my head all day so i thought I’d share it:

I think I am like a lot of people, you know: I’ve spent my life waiting for my life to start. It’s as thought one needs permission from somebody – parents, God, a committee of one’s peers; I don’t bloody know – to finally take responsibility for one’s own actions, one’s own life. Only the permission never comes, and gradually – well gradually for me, I can’t speak for others; maybe their realisation comes in some sort of sudden revelation and a blinding light or whatever – gradually you realise that it never will come, that the way you’ve lived your life, stumbling through it, winging it half the time, is all there really is, all there ever was. I feel cheated, because of that. I feel, sometimes, like i’ve cheated myself though I can’t see how I could have done much different. And I have a horrible feeling that even if I had a time machine and could go back to visit my younger self to warn him, or at least advise him about all this, he’d – I’d – have no idea what my future self was talking about. I’d think he was an idiot. I’d ignore him. I’d ignore myself.

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Mark

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