I’ve never quite fit the image of stereotypical masculinity in America. Growing up, I was short and scrawny; a shy, nervous kid. I liked computers. I was foreign. A perfect recipe for bullying.

Even in my adult life, some of those things still apply. I’m still short. I still get social anxiety. Asian men are still emasculated in popular media.

In the past, all this caused me so much pain. I really struggled with my own image; I hated who I was, and would have done anything to be anyone else.

But today, I’m thankful for that pain. It’s given…

I had a conversation about optimism with a friend recently, which made me think about what it means to me. Optimists often get a bad rep for being dreamers; they’re naive and unrealistic. This is a great mischaracterization. Optimism isn’t something people inherently have.

Optimism is fucking work.

It requires emotional intelligence and discipline. It’s trained; it doesn’t come naturally.

Optimism is a decision.

Optimism is when you really don’t want to do that one thing, but you do it anyway, because you know it will be worth it in the end. Optimism is when you had the most piece of shit day, but…

My personal journey quitting my job, backpacking through Central Europe, restarting my career, and how it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

I. Excitement

Coming out of school, I was hired as a User Interface/User Experience Designer for a digital consultancy in my hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina. I didn’t realize this at the time, but looking back to just under three years ago when I first started, I really had no clue what the hell I was doing. I don’t even think I understood what my job title really encompassed, but hey, at least it sounded sophisticated. It was exactly what I was looking for, too — a steady income doing what I wanted, living close to friends and family.

At first, I…

Photo from Unsplash, taken by @kazuend

It’s that time of year again. A time we can look back at the weight we didn’t lose, the junk we didn’t get rid of, and the money we didn’t save. Shoot. Well, maybe this year’s the year. Yeah. This year.

Sound familiar?

You’re not alone. 25% of Americans give up on their New Year’s Resolutions after one week. That number goes up to 54% after six months. I’m guilty of this too. Heck, if you asked me a few years ago what my New Year’s Resolution was, I wouldn’t have been able to give you an answer.

Let’s reframe…

Kevin Boodtama

Still learning

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