Someone I’d Like You to Meet: Giyen Kim


I love meeting friends of friends. My friends tend to hang out with good, interesting people, so I’m practically guaranteed to like those people.

In that spirit, I’m kicking off an occasional series called Someone I’d Like You To Meet. I’ll introduce you to good, interesting people I know. I think you’ll enjoy knowing them, too.

Meet Giyen Kim.

Giyen’s biggest priority in life right now is to make people laugh.

We “met” (Internet met) in 2010 as two of the founding panelists on a weekly video show called Momversation. One of the amazing things about that show (there were many) was that our conversations formed the basis of enduring friendship.

Giyen is a writer, artist, analyst, manager, public servant, designer, mother… and I’ve barely scratched the surface. She’s also my neighbor! Giyen recently became Portland’s City Arts Program Manager.

She’s also the designer of this website. Quick story that will give you a sense of who Giyen is: a year ago, I complained about about how hard it still is to make a decent-looking blog. Shortly after that post went live, my phone beeped with a text alert from Giyen. “Can I design your new blog?” That’s it. She just offered to do it. She told me that I have important things to say, and she wanted to help make it easier for me to say them by designing a blog that felt like home. It’s hard to describe how it felt to hear that. I tend to get mired in overthinking, and her vote of confidence stoked a flame in me that had been sputtering.

Giyen is curious, an insatiable learner, resourceful, generous, wise, and, most of all, kind. I’m so excited for you to get to know her better.

What are three things you’d like the world to know about you?

Why is this such a ridiculously hard question? I am much more curious and interested in other people than telling them about myself!

What comes to mind is that I want people to know I recently turned 45. Now that I am properly middle-aged, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about my life goals in relation to the time I have left. I’ve just started to transition away from thinking in terms of achievement-based success, and instead, started basing success on who I am as a person.

When I describe the person I want to be, it feels so easy and natural. It’s all about how can I be more compassionate, more generous, more kind, more in-the-present-moment. Focusing on this really turns down the anxiety level. If I get this right, then everything else I accomplish feels like the cherry on top.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still things I want to do in life. I’ve been feeling the pull to build something meaningful and creative – maybe it’s a blog, a skincare company, a podcast, a book series – I haven’t quite figured it out but I’m getting closer. I consider myself a polymath, so it’s hard for someone like me to focus on just one thing. The world is so full of wonder and I am blessed with a curiosity to match.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever given?

I find it hilarious that people come to me for advice – but it happens all of the time. I feel like I haven’t figured out anything in life, but I’m a good listener, and I know a little about a lot of things. I think that gives me a little authority.

The advice I find myself saying the most is – YOU KNOW WHAT YOU NEED TO DO. I find that people often go advice shopping – looking for answers that will validate what they want to do, versus what they need to do. I think we all secretly know what the right things for us are, it’s just sometimes the hardest thing to do. I’m so guilty of this.

Runner up advice – NO ONE REALLY CARES WHAT YOU DO, SO JUST DO IT. People just looooove hearing that (they really don’t).

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

A few years ago, my doctor gently nudged me to seek out a therapist. She thought it would really help me.

I’ve been seeing Ron for nearly two years, and it’s been nothing short of transformational. I have PTSD stemming from early childhood trauma and abuse. I would have never said that two years ago. I would have used words like “tumultuous childhood” or something to soften the description. But I can now say it out loud, (mostly) without shame.

Tell me a book and/or podcast that has moved or helped you.

The book that I give away the most is The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. Every time I see a used copy of this book I buy it so I can pass it along to someone else. Reading it for the first time was like opening up a conduit to magical things and thinking, and since then, so many extraordinary things have happened that it’s hard to ignore the correlation.

Anything else you’d like to share?

If you’re not meditating – just try it for a month. Don’t get bogged down choosing the “right” method – just download an app like Headspace or Calm and find a guided meditation that speaks to you. You’ll get benefit from the practice – no matter which method you choose.

Find Giyen at or on Instagram at @giyen

I’m blogging every weekday in November for #NaBloPoMo2019 — National Blog Posting Month. For more info, check out the kickoff announcement and the #NaBloPoMo2019 FAQ.