Objectively speaking, her life is pretty good. She has been retired for over a decade - she had quite a bit of money to begin with, and only worked for fun anyway. She has a close-knit family, a nice house, stylish clothes, no debt. She goes on cruises several times a year. She has good health and still looks great. Most women would love to be in her shoes!
But hearing her talk, I was shocked. She already thinks she is old. There's nothing more for her now for the long long years that lie ahead, other than being frugal with her nest egg and occasionally going on more [of the same] cruises with old friends and family. In fact, she's fixated by the notion that pretty soon, she'd be too old to drive and so she's planning on moving back to Hong Kong where the public transit is better so she could still get around even with no car.
"It will be a little bit lonelier if I move back, since all my family is here in Toronto - but it's cheaper to hire domestic help in Hong Kong and with a servant I will be able to live independently for longer," she said.
"My goodness, Mrs. Y!" I said. "You are not old at all, and you are already talking like your life is already over. What about experiencing new things, meeting new people, finding love, laughter, adventure? You should living your life, and not planning for something that may happen three decades later. You are only in your mid-fifties!"
I told Man Yung about my meeting with Mrs. Y and the chat we had. He couldn't understand either why Mrs. Y was giving up so soon. "Take a look at this!" he said, showing me his Facebook page. A famous milonguera friend had just posted some new photos. "She's the same age as your friend - but instead of preparing to die....she's preparing to be her daughter's bridesmaid!"
I took a look at the photos - and yes indeed, there was the lovely milonguera with her gorgeous smile (she is always smiling whenever we see her) wearing a sexy gown, looking just as radiant and youthful (if not more so) than the young girls of the bridal party standing next to her.
And it wasn't plastic surgery. It was just the right attitude.
Does Tango make time stop? From what we have observed in Buenos Aires, milongueros in their eighties and nineties are still sweet talking and hitting on ladies in their twenties and thirties. Milongueras of a certain age are still wearing sky high stilettos and very unconservative attire (think decolletage and animal prints) all nights of the week. And milonguero couples - well, many are still sweetly holding hands and giggling like love-sick teenagers.
You may think that it's only the Porteños who act this way because of their culture - but no, we have plenty of "not at all old, in fact quite young" Tango dancers in Toronto too. Tango works its magic no matter where you are.
My plan for "old age" doesn't involve cruises or servants. I intend to smile more, laugh more... and dance as much as possible. Because when I am ninety-five, I would like to be sixteen - just like Carmencita Calderon:
Carmencita Calderon and Juan Averna at CITA 2000. Look at her smile! And those killer legs!
Carmencita Calderon and Juan Averna again - this time a milonga! "Hey Irene, she moved faster and jumped higher than you, and you are less than half her age in this video!" said Man Yung unhelpfully.