it’s never too late is a series about people determined to pursue their dreams on their own terms.
Nancy Cardwell made two big changes in her life. The first is that she quit her job as a top newspaper editor in New York and volunteered at Habitat Her Four Her Humanities. The second was a little more drastic. She moved to Buenos Aires at the age of 62 after she fell in love with tango. A tango her dancer named Luis Gallardo.
Mr. Cardwell, now 75, joined The Wall Street Journal in 1969 and rose to associate editor-in-chief. She was the highest-ranking woman in the masthead at the time. However, in the late 80’s she was removed from the masthead. Broader restructuring of top editorial positions And then I realized that I was annoyed.
When she returned from a fishing trip in Montana in 1991, she stepped off the plane at LaGuardia Airport, which was sweltering and under construction. “That’s it,” she remembered telling herself. “I am out of here.”
She sold her New York apartment and moved to Americas, Georgia (population 15,000) to work for Habitat for Humanity. “You’ve reached the pinnacle of your profession,” she recalled telling herself.
She eventually returned to the East Coast and settled in Arlington, Virginia, where she began her career as a freelance book editor. When she was 58, she was invited to a tango event by her friends. She reluctantly went along. Within six months, she was taking her five tango classes a week. She celebrated her 60th birthday with her trip to Buenos Aires, where she danced tango and practiced her Spanish. She returned again and again, each trip a little longer. She hired her ‘taxi dancer’ and her professional tango dancers took her to the milonga (literally ‘ballroom’ but now synonymous with tango her hall). gave me
One night she was approached by Lewis, who had already noticed her on the dance floor. They continued to meet and dance in various milongas until the end of her journey. He asked her to write to him (he had registered his email address only to keep in touch with her).One day she received a message asking when she would return to Argentina.She was 11. Coming back to the moon, they were in the middle of a dance when he told her. The following year she moved to Argentina. They got married in 2014 and currently spend time in Arlington and Buenos Aires.
They still dance the tango at least three times a week.
The interview below has been edited and condensed.
What is the appeal of tango?
Tango is a lead-and-follow dance, more like a conversation. It’s more intimate than sexy. Long before I met Luis, I started telling people that 90% of what I wanted she got from men on the dance floor. Tango taught me that intimacy doesn’t need duration. A 3 minute tango length is enough. I later learned that Argentinians call tango “el amor de tres minutos” (three minutes of love).
How did you feel about being single before you met Lewis?
You grew up with the idea of being a couple or getting married, but I refused to accept that being single wasn’t okay. He told me that I had to. If you don’t like the situation, you need to change it or change how you feel about it. Living a miserable life just doesn’t work.
Did you spend a lot of time pondering your decision to move to Argentina?
I don’t think moving was scary because it wasn’t a big deal. I have already had more time to visit and was thinking of staying there longer. But Luis made Buenos Aires my hometown. He helped me understand his circle of friends, his family, his position in the tango community, and what it’s like to be Argentinian. Most importantly, he loved me and made me understand support and partnership in a way I had never experienced.
What’s the key to finding love?
We were both in a very good place when we met. I always tell people that I have never been happier than the day before I met him. I don’t think love and relationships will always bring happiness, but happiness can.
If this had happened to you 10 years earlier, 10 years later, would things have been different??
I don’t think it made any difference. But I think I’m getting more confident as I get older. It’s not because I’ve gotten better at whatever I’m doing, it’s just that I don’t care so much about what other people think. For example, I am fluent in Spanish, but I make all kinds of mistakes. Now I know that my worth, my worth in the world, is not determined by how well I speak Spanish. It gives you the freedom to reach out and do things.
A friend comes up to you and says, “I started tango. I went on a trip to Buenos Aires. I met this guy. He thinks he’s the best dancer in the world. I Move to Argentina and be with him?” What did you say to her?
I would probably tell her to go for it. I miss my family and my partner which is a good thing. I wish I had them, but they didn’t. But being single has its perks. That means you can do whatever you want. You don’t have to buy her Reeboks for someone else. No one needs to be sent to Harvard. Where there are downsides, you can also take advantage of the upsides.