"You see, the trouble is that no devastating or redeeming fires have ever burnt in my life. It never was like a morning which gradually fills with light and colour and then turns, like other people's, into a blazing, hot day, when everything seethes and shimmers in the bright noonday sun, and then gradually grows paler and more subdued, fading naturally into the evening twilight. No! My life began by flickering out. It may sound strange but it is so. From the very first moment I became conscious of myself, I felt that I was already flickering out. I began to flicker out over the writing of official papers at the office; I went on flickering out when I read truths in books which I did not know how to apply in life, when I sat with friends listening to rumours, gossip, jeering, spiteful, cold, and empty chatter, and watching friendships kept up by meetings that were without aim or affection; I was flickering out and wasting my energies on those I imagined I loved; I was flickering out when I walked idly and dejectedly along Nevsky Avenue among people in raccoon coats and beaver collars - at parties on reception days, where I was welcomed with open arms as a fairly eligible young man; I was flickering out and wasting my life and mind on trifles moving from town to some country house, and from the country house to Gorokhovaya, fixing the arrival of spring by the fact that lobsters and oysters had appeared in the shops, of autumn and winter by the special visiting days, of summer by the fêtes, and in life in general by lazy and comfortable somnolence like the rest. ...Even ambition - what was it wasted on? To order clothes at a famous tailor's? To get an invitation to a famous house? To shake hands with Prince P.? And ambition is the salt of life! Where has it gone to? Either I have not understood this sort of life or it is utterly worthless; but I did not know of a better one. No one showed it to me. You appeared and disappeared like a bright and swiftly moving comet, and I forgot it all and went on flickering out. ...'
You said just now that my face had lost its freshness and was flabby. Yes, I am an old shabby, worn-out coat, but not because of the climate or hard work, but because for years the light has been shut up within me and, unable to find an outlet, it merely consumed itself inside its prison house and was extinguished without breaking out into the open. And so years have passed.
My dear friends: I do not want to wake up any more."
(Ilya Ilyich Oblomov).