My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Tuesday—I want to thank everyone who was kind enough to remember my birthday. When you get to be 62, it is surprising to find that anyone remembers your birthday except your children and closest friends. Many people, however, sent me greetings and I cannot possibly hope to answer them all individually, so I am using my column to say how very grateful I am.

I find there are great advantages to getting old. You so willingly accept every opportunity for letting up on the numerous jobs which have kept you busy in the past! There was a time when to be inactive might have seemed a calamity. Now, whenever I get back to the country after a few days in town, I wonder why I ever leave it.

One thing which gives me great pleasure is the feeling that I no longer have any direct responsibility for helping to run the world. I think older people have a responsibility to help young people to assume more and more of the management of the world in which they live. An older person, when asked, should furnish assistance from his or her experience and should give it gladly, but there is no need to feel that nobody else can do a job if you neglect it!

Every young person has a right to a certain period in life in which they feel that someone else will take the major responsibility of directing not only their lives, but the surrounding world situation. Then there comes a period when, willy-nilly, the responsibility must be on their young but mature shoulders. They must carry it until they reach that pleasant evening of life when they may be advisers but no longer have the obligation to carry the major responsibility.

It is a pleasant time in life, and I now bend my efforts to shedding as many responsibilities as possible and enjoying to the full this period when I may be an adviser but somebody else has to make the decisions!

* * *

Yesterday I went to hear Philip Murray, head of the CIO, speak at a luncheon given by the women's division of the National Citizens Political Action Committee in connection with their forum course. I have a great admiration for Mr. Murray. He is a wise and temperate labor leader, one with whom we discuss questions affecting the world as well as questions immediately affecting labor.

In the afternoon, I attended a meeting of the board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and then, around 6 o'clock, found myself hurrying home in the subway.

I suddenly realized, during my rounds yesterday, how the years must be showing physically when, in a bus, a white-haired woman got up and offered me a seat! I don't really feel as old as I look, and I was going only a short way, so I hurriedly pushed farther along in the bus.

In the evening, I went out to Yonkers to lecture on the United Nations. And I had an opportunity, in the Lincoln Park Jewish Center there, to see one of Miss Jessie Stanton's nursery schools. It is a charming place, with every possible equipment to make children happy and at the same time to develop them in preparation for their future school life.

E. R.

(WORLD COPYRIGHT, 1946, BY UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE, INC.; REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART PROHIBITED.)


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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 16, 1946

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

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.
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