It’s Never Too Late to Learn the Tango and Fall in Love


It’s Never Too Late is a sequence about individuals who resolve to pursue their goals on their very own phrases.

Nancy Cardwell has made two huge adjustments in her life. The primary was quitting her job as a top-tier newspaper editor in New York to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. The second was a bit extra drastic: transferring to Buenos Aires on the age of 62 after falling in love with tango — and a tango dancer by the identify of Luis Gallardo.

Now 75, Ms. Cardwell began at The Wall Avenue Journal in 1969 and rose by the ranks to turn out to be an assistant managing editor — and the highest-ranking girl on the masthead on the time. However within the late ’80s, she was dropped from the masthead as a part of a broader reshuffling of top editorial positions and located herself annoyed.

She was getting back from a fishing journey in Montana in 1991 when she received off the airplane at La Guardia Airport, which was sweltering and beneath development. “That’s it,” she recalled saying to herself. “I’m out of here.”

She bought her New York residence and moved to Americus, Ga. (inhabitants 15,000), to work for Habitat for Humanity. “You’ve reached the top of your profession,” she remembered telling herself. “You don’t have to prove anything else. If you don’t want to do it anymore, don’t do it.”

She ultimately moved again to the East Coast, settling in Arlington, Va., and began a profession as a contract e-book editor. When she was 58, a buddy invited her to a tango occasion; she reluctantly went alongside. Inside six months, she was taking 5 tango courses every week. She celebrated her sixtieth birthday with a visit to Buenos Aires, the place she danced tango and practiced Spanish. She returned time and again, every journey slightly longer. She would rent a “taxi dancer” — a professional tango dancer who took her to milongas (actually “ballrooms,” although now the time period is synonymous with tango halls) — and keep out dancing till 3 a.m.

One evening, she was approached by Luis, whom she had already observed on the dance flooring. They continued to satisfy and dance at numerous milongas till the tip of her journey. He requested her to put in writing to him (he had signed up for an e-mail handle simply to correspond along with her), and sooner or later, she received a message asking when she could be coming again to Argentina. She returned in November, and so they have been mid-dance when he stated to her, “I think you’re going to be one of the great loves of my life.” The following yr, she moved to Argentina. They married in 2014 and now cut up their time between Arlington and Buenos Aires.

They nonetheless dance tango no less than 3 times every week.

The next interview has been edited and condensed.

What’s the actual enchantment of tango?

Tango is a lead-and-follow dance — it’s like a dialog. It’s intimate, fairly than horny. I began telling individuals lengthy earlier than I met Luis, “I get 90 percent of what I want from a man on the dance floor.” Tango taught me that intimacy didn’t require period. The size of a three-minute tango is sufficient. I discovered later that the Argentines name tango “el amor de tres minutos” (the three-minute love).

How did you’re feeling about being single, earlier than you met Luis?

You’re raised considering that you’ll be a pair or be married, however I simply refused to simply accept that it was not all proper to be single. My mom principally taught me that happiness is an choice, and you must select it. If you happen to don’t like a scenario, you both want to vary the scenario or you could change how you’re feeling about it, as a result of going by life depressing simply doesn’t lower it.

Did you spend numerous time deliberating the choice to maneuver to Argentina?

I feel the transfer wasn’t scary to me as a result of it didn’t look like a giant deal. I used to be already visiting for growing quantities of time and serious about basing myself there for longer. However Luis made Buenos Aires dwelling to me. He gave me a circle of associates, household, a standing within the tango neighborhood and an understanding of what it’s wish to be an Argentine. Most significantly, he liked me and made me perceive assist and partnership in a approach I had by no means skilled.

What’s the important thing to discovering love?

We have been each in superb spots once we met one another. I at all times inform individuals I had by no means been happier than I used to be the day earlier than I met him. Not that I’m much less completely satisfied now, however I wasn’t in search of something. I don’t suppose romance and relationships at all times carry happiness, however happiness is what permits them to occur.

Do you suppose that issues would have been totally different if this had occurred to you 10 years earlier or 10 years later?

I don’t suppose it might have made a distinction. However I feel the older you get, the extra assured you turn out to be. Not since you get any higher at no matter you have been doing, however you simply get much less involved about what different individuals suppose. I’m fluent in Spanish, for instance, however I make every kind of errors. Now I do know that my value, my worth, who I’m on the earth, doesn’t come from how nicely I communicate Spanish. And that feeling provides you some freedom to achieve out and do issues that as a youthful individual, you won’t have been keen to do.

If you happen to had a buddy who got here to you and stated, “I’ve taken up tango, I took a trip to Buenos Aires, I met this man, he thinks he’s the best dancer in the world, should I move to Argentina and be with him?” what would you’ve stated to her?

I’d in all probability inform her to go for it. There’s a draw back to being single. You miss having the household and associate, that are good issues. I’d’ve been completely satisfied to have them, however I didn’t. However there’s an upside to being single, which signifies that you are able to do something that you simply wish to do. You don’t have to purchase Reeboks for anyone. You don’t must ship anyone to Harvard. If you happen to’ve received the draw back, you would possibly as nicely take the upside.


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