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We’ve all seen that happen: One person cannot seem to get the confi dence back after a layoff; another, persistently depressed, takes a few years off from life after her divorce.

It seems that the meaning of "takes a few years off from life" is negative here,although I don't understand the meaning exactly. In the other hand, a similar phrase, that's mean:"It takes few years off your life" is posetive, and means " it makes you look younger".

Based on what I said, Could you please tell me what's the meaning of "It takes a few years off from life" here?

The fuller text:

But people who knew Claus better than I did thought of him not just as a great newsman but as a quintessential survivor, someone who had endured in an environment often hostile to talent. He had lived through at least three major changes in the magazine’s leadership, losing most of his best friends and colleagues on the way. At home, two of his children succumbed to incurable illnesses, and a third was killed in a traffi c accident. Despite all this—or maybe because of it—he milled around the newsroom day after day, mentoring the cub reporters, talking about the novels he was writing—always looking forward to what the future held for him. Why do some people suffer real hardships and not falter? Claus Schmidt could have reacted very differently. We’ve all seen that happen: One person cannot seem to get the confidence back after a layoff; another, persistently depressed, takes a few years off from life after her divorce. The question we would all like answered is, Why? What exactly is that quality of resilience that carries people through life?

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    Not directly relevant, because as Michael Harvey explains, it's a different idiom. But "takes a few years off your life" would not be positive, as it would mean "shortens your life". I think you mean "takes a few years off you" or "off your age". – Colin Fine Feb 10 at 14:55
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If you take time off from something, you take a break from something, e.g. from work, school, etc. To take a few years off from your life is to take a break from your normal life. This could be negative if you do nothing (make no progress, do not "move on") with your life in that period, as depressed people sometimes do.

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