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He remembers his childhood, realizing that these were his happiest days-days which grew progressively worse with age..... as an adult he just went through the motions. He never really lived; he just existed.
The Death of Ivan Ilych
Ivan Ilyich's happiest memories are that of his childhood. These were the days where he had a simple, yet happy life. As Ivan grew older, however, he began to do only "what society would want him to." If society approved of his marridge, then he would marry. If society approved of his status in work, Ivan was happy. However, he was never truly happy; he just thought he was.
Ivan Ilyich soon discovers that he has lived a wasted life, and that he must accept this. He feels as if he is dying because of his "wrong-doings," when he is really dying because he is.
The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy