This is a quote from Little Miss Sunshine. The suicidal uncle is the primary expert on Marcel Proust in the US, and is talking to his nephew about high school, life and how hard it all can be. Just as a reference point- Proust was a French writer who considered himself a failure. He never had a real job, bounced between unrequited love affairs and spent 20 years writing a book pretty much nobody reads. The book was not recognized as a valuable contribution till after his death: A la Recherche du Temps Perdu or In Search of Lost Time.
"At the end of his life he looks back a realized that all the years (Proust) suffered, those were the best years of his life because they made him who he was. And all the years he was happy- a total waste- he didn't learn a thing."
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