Anaïs Nin’s Childhood Writings: New Year’s Eve 1919

By December 1919, Anaïs Nin and her family had been in New York for more than five years. As 1920 approached, sixteen year old Anaïs recorded the following into her diary (Linotte: The Early Diary of Anaïs Nin 1914-1920 400-402):

December 31, 1919

It is 11. Maman is in bed; so are Thorvald and Joaquinito. I am writing—the two of us are waiting for the New Year!

How many things there are that no one can write, no one understand! Tonight I am troubled by many different feelings, for as I realize a New Year is about to begin, I have been going over the old one… Many people generally spend the few hours before midnight making resolutions and promises. I promise nothing; I have such a weak character that I can’t promise to be better, but God knows how much I want to be, with what enthusiasm and will power. I want what is best in me to live. But I know that I have very few things to ask for just now, compared to the infinite number of things for which I should give thanks. What do we lack?

Anaïs Nin, December 1919
Anaïs Nin, December 1919

It’s about my gratitude that I can’t write; it’s too lofty, too strange, too vague. My feelings are too sincere to be expressed in mere words!


I can confide my wishes to you—you know that I want to become better and better, you know that Maman’s happiness is above all else for me, you know that my little brothers’ happiness is as important to me as my own, you know my love for the perfection of our home, my search for the most beautiful books, everything from my tiniest whim, my ambitions, up to the tiniest, simplest prayer, and my regrets—you know all that…and more!

The pettiest and most childish thing in other people’s opinion, but the thing I consider a real treasure, is the little bit of my heart and the sweep of my imagination which await the stranger… Will it be this year that I find the sweet light that people call—I am almost ashamed to name it, it’s my only secret—I am thinking about love…

If I didn’t dream so much, I would never have thought of that, but everything beautiful appears in my dreams, and love is so beautiful!

I haven’t told you anything about the dance… I met a boy there whose name I don’t know… I learned the last name of my little neighbor, Raymond McCormick, because he lends me books…

But here I am, waiting for the New Year and talking about little boys, about children! I who am always to serious—no, not serious, I mean calm and indifferent about gentlemen.

…It will soon be midnight. My little “Love” has been weeping at the door for a long time without being able to come in, and I look at the picture for a long time with a smile. If he doesn’t come in this year, I won’t be able to bear the sorrow and I’ll give the picture to someone else…

What a quiet way to await the beginning of another year! There must be many other things to think about that are more important than the passage of time, since so many other things stir our enthusiasm and drive us to act. That proves that Time doesn’t rule through the power of the Inevitable, and that the Inevitable isn’t Life.

There are the bells, the whistles. Happy New Year! Happy New Year!

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