The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt


BOSTON, Thursday—I suppose on New Year's Eve one should look back on the year that has passed and forward to the New Year and it should inspire one with some great thoughts. However, at the moment I am watching some gold fish in a bowl and all I can think of is that even gold fish act in rather human fashion now and then. They seem to have likes and dislikes for each other and when they get too close, they swim away as much as to say: "You're an inmate of my bowl but I like a certain amount of privacy and when you invade it, I shall walk away or swim away and in order to show you plainly how I feel, I will refrain from conversation." I have seen that same expression on many a human being's face!

Well, we must think about the past and the future. Nearly a week ago in a press conference, the girls asked me what I had to say for the New Year and I seemed to have a great many more thoughts than than I have today.

Many people seem to think you should live a well planned life, have objectives, lay out a course and point with pride at the end of the year to your achievements. I'll agree about the objectives but it seems to me with most of us that is about as far as we can get. Circumstance, or luck or fate, or whatever you choose to call it, is always stepping in to interfere with well laid plans. I'm not sure that it isn't the part of wisdom to simply make up your mind to live as happily and as fully as you can. Seize on every thing that comes your way which makes life more interesting, or more agreeable, meet whatever circumstances arise in what some critics will call a haphazard or opportunist manner, but in what you yourself may consider is the only way to face an ever changing life in an ever changing world with a smile and a retention of a sense of values.

New Year's Eve is a time for the gathering of friends and families. An opportunity to renew old ties and to strengthen new ones by wishing each and all we love whether present in the flesh or only present in our hearts and minds, the happiest of New Years. Perhaps I might paraphrase Stevenson's Christmas Sermon with apologies to him. It is such a perfect thing that I use it only to help phrase my own poor thoughts. I wish for those whom I love this New Year's Eve opportunity in the coming year to earn sufficient, to have that which they need for their own and to give that which they desire to others, to bring into the lives of those about them some measure of joy, to know the satisfaction of work well done, of recreation earned and therefore savored, to end the year a little wiser, a little kinder and therefore a little happier.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Boston (Mass., United States) [ index ]
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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 1, 1937

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

  • Brick, Christopher (Editor)
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  • Regenhardt, Christy (Associate Editor)
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  • Black, Allida M. (Editor)
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  • Binker, Mary Jo (Associate Editor)
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  • Alhambra, Christopher C. (Electronic Text Editor)
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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a draft version of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library. My Day column draft dated December 31, 1936, FDR Library, Hyde Park, NY
TMsd, 31 December 1936, AERP, FDRL