Literature and Life: Of Human Bondage and Beyond

In the novel Of Human Bondage , the reader comes across a truly magnificent quote on page 627. This quote is: "He had lived always in the future, and the present always, always had slipped through his fingers." In and of itself, this is a very powerful quote. However, it can be given even more power and significance if a person can relate this quote to their own life and experiences. I myself, after reading this quote, was instantly able to identify with it.
This quote describes the middle school years and my early high school years almost perfectly. Many nights I would find myself staying in, watching TV, doing one thing or another around my house. I would almost never leave the house and I had nothing that could even remotely be called a social life. My reason for doing this to myself was that I spent most of my time thinking about my future and wishing for it to come. I had almost no kind of happiness for where I was or what I was doing in the present. I cut myself off from the outside world. I was rather shy around other people (I still am, admittedly) and I had very few friends.
It was not too long before I discovered the faults in my erroneous living. I finally realized, and truly not a moment too soon, that if I did not start living for the present, my future would soon become my neglected present. I would have wasted my life doing meaningless things and I would have no experience to share with anyone who may be interested in the uneventful life I had led. After I came to this startling revelation, I grew even more apathetic in my depression. I truly felt that there was nothing I could do to remedy this situation and was at a total loss for solutions. Soon enough, though, I concluded that there was no alternative to hard work to change the current state of affairs in my life. It was then that I truly embarked on the most difficult journey of my life thus far. This being the journey of self-alteration and successfully changing my own behavioral patterns.
My changes that I’ve done to myself have been quite noticeable to those people who’ve known me for a great number of years. The fear of losing my present and, indirectly, losing my future has fueled this radical change. There are many strings that still bind me to my former self, but for the most part I believe I am truly a different person than I was but a few years ago. Several factors have been most beneficial in my quest for a new me. I attribute both my greater and greater involvement in the music I listen to and to my friends, who I think have experienced a similar transformation, but perhaps for different reasons.
In conclusion, when W. Somerset Maugham stated that everyone could find themselves in Of Human Bondage he was quite accurate. I know this holds true for me with the quote stated above and in many other occurrences through the duration of the novel. Philip, the main character of the novel, almost loses much of his present, and almost the rest of his future, by the end of the book. However, he does realize the errors in his ways and changes his life. I’m truly happy that I was able to accomplish this as well because having no future is a terrible thing.

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