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I am not able to comprehend the meaning of "almost a lifetime since" used in the following sentence:

Almost a lifetime since, he had been elected an MLA twice and an MP four times from Hyderabad, a seat that his father Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi represented six times. He has recast the archetype for Muslim leadership. Does he regret giving up law to be a lawmaker? “Regret…? I don’t know... It is a very subjective thing. I don’t regret things in life, you look at the good side of it and go ahead,” Mr. Owaisi said.

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"Since" here is a formal or old-fashioned synonym for "ago". The phrase should be understood as "almost a lifetime ago". See https://www.lexico.com/definition/since (adverb, 2).

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Since it's right at the beginning of a new paragraph you shall refer to a preceding one in order to apprehend its meaning. And the preceding states:

The young Owaisi, who wanted to be a lawyer, had to file his nomination papers to contest the 1994 Andhra Pradesh Assembly election.

Almost a lifetime since, he had been elected an MLA twice...

A narrative shifts from 1994 to nowadays. And Owaisi is represented as a mature politician and a lawmaker, opposed to a young man struggling to pay his tuition fee. To emphasize a significant time gap as well as a significant change of the character the phrase "Almost a lifetime since" is employed.

It seems to be a shorter form of "Almost a lifetime has passed since then...". Even though the expression is clearly a metaphorical one it may be taken quite literally because 26 years have passed since 1994, compared to 25 years of age Owaisi was then.

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  • No. This is an unnecessarily complicated explication. Rjpond has the whole of the answer.
    – Colin Fine
    Nov 17, 2020 at 16:32
  • Rjpond explanation is lucid, indeed. But after all both conclusion ("Almost a lifetime has passed since then..." and "Almost a lifetime ago") seem to me to be similar.
    – f4f
    Nov 19, 2020 at 8:32

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