“The Middle Years” Commonplace

“That identity was ineffaceable now, and all the more that he was disappointed, disgusted. He had been rash, been stupid, had gone out too soon, stayed out too long.”

Henry James, “The Middle Years.” Henry James: Complete Stories 1892-1898, ed. John Hollander and David Bromwich (New York: The Library of America, 1996), pg 345

Why is the “identity” something that he’s so worried about being memorized/not forgotten? What caused this to happen? Why is it a problem that he stayed out too long?