Aliyah Partington, a year 8 student at Bellingen High School, interviewed retiree Cynthia Miller and wrote this profile as part of her Youth Frontiers project. This is the second of three profiles that Aliyah is writing for the Courier-Sun. Her first one was of Gordon Jacob.
- Name: Cynthia Miller
- Nickname: Cyn
- Age Bracket: 65-74
- Born: Sydney, NSW
- Hobbies: Music, poetry and art
- Careers: School teacher
Cynthia is an inspirational woman, retired and living in the Bellingen community. She happily shared her life experiences over a coffee at the Hyde Cafe.
Born and raised in Sydney, Cynthia has lived in Bellingen for seven years. Cynthia was a school teacher, and she taught in Canberra, Sydney and overseas in Canada. Specialising in music, she produced the school concerts and musical productions.
Cynthia told of her love for music and art. She plays piano and guitar and has sung for residents at the Raleigh and Bellorana nursing homes.
She paints portraits of what she calls ‘fat ladies’.
"I paint big women, who dress very fashionably, in an exotic, wonderful way,” Cynthia said. "They are stylised paintings, of my own design."
Cynthia has done pottery, too. “I was a potter in Sydney and New Zealand, where I made 60 ceramic pieces for a resort.”
Cynthia also writes poems and participated in the local Poetry Slam competition.
And she loves to travel.
"I love England and France, I've skied in New Zealand, even in my 60s, skiing better than I have in my life!” she said.
Cynthia proudly told of her influential moments and achievements in life, from becoming a mother to incidentally helping deliver twin babies on an isolated Indian reserve in Northern Canada, where she taught and lived for several years.
She cherishes these special moments and calls them great experiences.
Cynthia has also experienced challenges in her life, in particular losing a loved one, her husband Geoff.
This challenge, however, brought her independence.
“I felt incredible freedom, being able to make my own choices," she said.
Currently living on her own with the company of her border collie Belle, she is now renovating her cottage home with the support of friends.
"I’m having such a wonderful time,” she remarks, “I have discovered how much friendship means.”
She explains that she has found a group of women where she feels she can truly be herself and says how grateful she is to have such strong friendships.
Cynthia’s message to everyone is to treasure your friendships and embrace change in your life.