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Meet Iris Krasnow: The Ethel’s New Senior Editor

Our goal is to inspire you to live your best life at every age.

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Ethel's Senior Editor, Iris Krasnow photographed at her home in
Farrah Skeiky
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I am thrilled to introduce myself as the new senior editor of The Ethel, a post created by Shelley Emling, executive editor of specialized content, which includes this newsletter, The Girlfriend, and others. Thank you, Shelley, for tapping me for my dream job!        

I am 66, the mother of four sons — ages 31, 29 and 27-year-old twins — and we live in Annapolis, Maryland. I have a little bit of arthritis and a lot of gray hair. No grandchildren yet; just one gorgeous grand-dog, an Australian sheltie.

My husband and I have been married for 33 years and have rocked and rolled through the passing of all four of our parents, raising four feisty teenagers at once and feeling the sting of an empty nest — and we managed to stay together, with grit, tenacity, endurance and love.

For me, a martini every night, infused with a juicy blue cheese olive, has also helped.        

This appointment to The Ethel editorial team comes after four decades as a journalist who has written seven books on a woman’s most important relationships that mirror the passages of our lives. The categories The Ethel (geared toward “women who weren’t born yesterday”) is devoted to — love and loss, finance, sexuality, health and ageism — are passages in which I have deep and varied experiences, as chronicled in my books, some of them best sellers.      

First came Surrendering to Motherhood, published in 1997, followed by Surrendering to Marriage (2002), Surrendering to Yourself (2003), I Am My Mother’s Daughter (2007), The Secret Lives of Wives (2011) and Sex After… Women Share How Intimacy Changes as Life Changes (2014).      

My latest book, published in April 2020 and coming out in paperback next month, is Camp Girls: Fireside Lessons on Friendship, Courage, and Loyalty.      

I was born and raised in Oak Park, Illinois, and am a graduate of Stanford University, with a master’s degree from Georgetown University. My early journalism career was spent as the fashion writer at the Dallas Times Herald. I then moved to Washington, D.C., to become the national feature writer for United Press International.      

As a young journalist at UPI, I had the opportunity to profile many formidable women who taught me early on that success and self-worth had little to do with age and everything to do with passion and a sustained sense of purpose. That list includes Yoko Ono, Barbara Bush, Erica Jong, Ginger Rogers, Betty Friedan, Annie Leibovitz and Queen Noor of Jordan.      

As women in their 90s are among the fastest-growing segment of the aging population, these lessons align with the goal of The Ethel: to shatter ageist stereotypes and empower readers to believe that anything is possible at every stage.      

We all know 94-year-olds who have more energy than some of our college-age kids.      

Camp Girls is proof that anything is possible at any age, a book that chronicles my return to work at the summer camp of my girlhood.  I left Camp Agawak, in the northern woods of Wisconsin, as an 18-year-old counselor in 1973, skipped a few decades and then came back as a 59-year-old in 2013 to start a writing program.      

I am the oldest counselor, though I am ageless as I hike the tangled and towering woods of pine and swim the icy lake with campers a sixth of my age.        

We hope The Ethel community on Facebook, which you can join at facebook.com/aarpethel/timeline, as well as our newsletter, will also inspire you to resurrect old passions and hobbies that were shelved while you were busy raising families or climbing the career ladder and being everything to everybody else — something women too often do.      

It is time for YOU!      

The Ethel is here to lift you in work and play and in relationships, and to jump-start new adventures and old dreams. Success in those crucial arteries of life comes down to believing in ourselves, at 50 and 70 and beyond, in the spirit of Ethel Percy Andrus, our namesake, who founded AARP at the age of 74 in 1958.      

When I imagine the potential and possibilities available to “women who weren’t born yesterday,” I think of this stanza from the song “Landslide,” first performed by Fleetwood Mac then further popularized by the Dixie Chicks: Can the child within my heart rise above? / Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides? / Can I handle the seasons of my life? / Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’ / ‘Cause I've built my life around you / But time makes you bolder / Even children get older / And I'm getting older, too.      

And what I have come to know through my own journey through the stages of womanhood is that we can handle every change, every loss and every season of our lives if we learn, right now, that we need to handle our own fulfillment and happiness.

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