My suitcase lay overstuffed on the living room floor, all dressed up with nowhere to go.  Dancing shoes sat still, thwarted in their annual pilgrimage  to tango’s mecca.  I am a professional dancer and teacher of Argentine tango.  Slated to fly to Buenos Aires for the Congreso Internacional de Tango Argentino, a tango conference I have attended like clockwork each March for the past 20 years, I cancelled my flight.  Two days later, the Argentine Ministry of Health stated that people arriving from the U.S.  would be placed in 14-day quarantine.  The conference directors formally cancelled the event, noting the emotional and financial hit suffered.  

Whereas my 20-something, even my 30-something, self might have felt keen disappointment, my 40-something self felt only relief.  I could stay put.  I could stay home.  Fast forward a day, and my businessman boyfriend, 17 years my senior in life and countless years my senior in financial status, found himself pained at the dip in the stock market.  As an artist who can barely pay my monthly health insurance, I struggled with empathy.  

Then I remembered how he treated Valentine’s Day.  “It’s not important to me.  You are important to me,” he clarified.  “He is important to me,” I reminded myself, and bit my tongue as he vented his financial woes.  

We celebrated Shabbat and Havdalah via Facebook livestream with our temple’s clergy.  

We find solace walking Ocean Beach and the Mt. Sutro trail behind the house with Kali, our cockapoo.  

I take comfort in this globally shared humanity – our oneness in vulnerability, and strength.  

Thank you Chelsea, for your story! “Inside Our Time” digital series: