According to Soren Kirkegaard, "It is one thing that a life is over, and a different thing that a life is finished by reaching a conclusion".
According to Jean-Paul Sartre (I can't stand Sartre, why do I quote him all the time? Christ!) in Nausea:
I walk down the road, my life is open before me. I do not know what will happen, and, if my life so far is anything to go by, nothing of note will. Even if it does, if a car runs me over, for example, that will not have conferred meaning on my life, only brought it to an end. But when I open a novel and read in its first pages that the hero is walking down a deserted road, I know that this is the beginning of an adventure, of love, perhaps, or of espionage, it doesn't matter, it is an adventure. After all, I can feel the comforting thickness of the remainder of the novel between the thumb and index fingers of my right hand. And that is why I am reading the novel in the first place. Not, as banal view has it, to pass the time, but in fact to give myself the feeling that meaning exists in the world, even if I have not found it yet. That is the secret power of novels: they look like mere mirrors held up to the world, but what they are are machines that secrete spurious meaning into the world.