I’m Cindee, from Byron Bay, Australia, one of the most beautiful spots on the planet with a population of people from all over the world. I was born in the U.S. but have lived in Australia for the last 20 years, so I have dual citizenship. My father was a military man and as a child I lived in numerous U.S. states and also Japan and Bolivia. Half of my childhood years were spent out of the U.S., so being Australian now seems pretty natural to me.
During my move-around life, I attended 10 different schools and 3 colleges before graduating from the University of California with a degree in English and Humanities and two teaching credentials. I married my university sweetheart in 1969 and settled down to what I thought would be the rest of my life. It was not to be, and after 8 years and 2 children, we divorced. I married my Australian husband in 1984 – he’d been in the U.S. for many years doing a graduate degree - and we moved to Australia.
I’ve always loved writing so I became a journalist in Australia - a feature writer and columnist. I wrote about relationship, multiculturalism, and social issues like domestic violence, sexual abuse, and teenage pregnancy. My columns were a bit more light-hearted! I won a few awards, was very involved in the community, and became a popular public speaker. Increasing understanding of one another and healing the rift between the sexes were the passions that directed much of my work. With this in mind, I put together personal development workshops based on the work of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, which I conducted for many years.
Nine years ago my husband and I decided to go our separate ways. I moved from the city to Byron Bay, dedicated to discovering more about myself and my own deepening as a woman. I dropped out of the mainstream, as it were, and was blessed to be given everything to allow me this luxury. I explored a wide variety of healing modalities and alternative spiritualities, as well as creative pursuits. I like to paint; I’ve done a little acting, which I love although I don’t think Meryl Streep has to move over yet; belly-dancing, yoga, and body work were physical arts I came to appreciate. Through all this – which I call my ‘cocoon phase’ - I’ve come to the conclusion that really, just mature human behaviour, common sense and an open heart are what it’s all about. And I want to give again. I’m doing a little work editing a friend’s book, but there’s so much more of me I’d like to express. I’m ready to jump back into life, though I’m not sure just where to focus yet. All I know is that I want to laugh a lot!
I love living in Australia. The pace of life is slower and attitudes seem much simpler. I always go through an adjustment period when I first return to the U.S. for family visits. Things like driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road come back pretty quickly, but the television culture, the shop-shop-shop mentality, and the constant technological advances can put me into overwhelm. But I do like the times I spend with my family in California. Both of my children attended university there and ended up staying. I’m very close to them and I miss them very much. Especially now that I have grandchildren, the pull is even greater. I have managed to spend a few months each year in the U.S. the last 3 years, helping my daughter Katy with the ‘babies’ – she and her husband Nick have twins, Mia and Brandon (now almost 3). And now there’s their new baby, beautiful Ava, born just last month. I also like having some quality time with my son Quinn and my daughter-in-law Tarah who also live in Pacific Beach, San Diego, just a few miles from Katy.
I’ve led an exciting adventurous life. Besides living in Japan and South America, I’ve spent time in Europe, India, Crete, Fiji, Mexico, plus most of the U.S. states. In my younger days I was a thrill seeker - I’ve skied, white water rafted, sky dived, dune-buggied, scuba dived on the Great Barrier Reef. I still enjoy milder versions of my old vices, but now my rushes come more from connecting with people and by being awed by the beauty and grace of life. I also have to admit, books are some of my favorite friends. All in all, I love to laugh and dance the dance. The spontaneity of ‘now’ is my thrill. Hobbies? Love to design and sew my own clothes, getting my hands dirty in the garden, adore dogs and cats (though don’t have any at present), I have a real knack for interior decorating, and I love good films. Also have a soft spot for musicals – either stage or film versions (Camelot, Les Miserables, Phantom, the like). They make my romantic heart soar and my tears gratefully gush...
I am healthy and body conscious, alternating between doing pilates, yoga, weight training, ocean swimming or hiking. My family are all sports nuts, so anything goes when we’re together, from volleyball on the beach, to roaring over the TV when there’s a play-off. I like looking good and even more, I think the radiance of inner beauty is what really makes a person attractive. I eat well and am a morning person. I LOVE the sunshine, and sunrise is my favorite time, though long walks under a full moon come a close second.
I have missed having a partner, a beloved, for many years. I know I thrive most in relationship. I love the give and take and the joy of sharing. Since my divorce 9 years ago, I have had only one partner, and that intermittently, until I finally decided it was dead-end. I am definitely a one-man woman. I don’t know HOW to ‘play the field’. I had begun to think that I am just too picky, but at another level, I know the timing is always perfect. I would like to think that time is approaching. I didn’t see the Oprah show in Australia, but my daughter did and she was adamant I jump in the running.
I am thrilled to have been chosen as a ‘finalist’ in Richard’s search. Regardless of the outcome, the experience of presenting myself has reminded me of how great a life I have and how blessed I am to have done the things I have done. I am very much looking forward to meeting the other women and sharing our stories.
Life to me has purpose and meaning, and a mission for each individual. Richard’s trip idea, and documenting it, could be an incredible gift to the world. The man/woman relationship is the first us-and-them experience, the microcosm for all differences – therefore all misunderstandings all the way up to war itself. I can think of no higher service than to explore these differences with vulnerability and courage – and lots of humor! In a way, my whole life has been about this. I’d like to think that we, meaning the ‘older generation’, could impart a legacy to our peers and to those younger, that it’s never too late and love DOES conquer all.