LOOOOOOOK—-> I’m so excited to introduce you to a guy who’s become a true friend. David Westengard and I spent a significant amount of time on the phone talking about a business relationship then met in person when I was out in San Diego last summer for the American Airlines Celebrity Golf and Tennis classic. David is an interesting guy who embodies a lot of the characteristics I love in a person; young, determined, focused and did I mention smart?
Okay enough of me talking about him; let me cede this space and allow him to tell you a little bit about what makes him tick. And don’t forget, we’re always looking for Life Lessons subjects. If you want to take part, drop us a line here; we’ll get the questions out to you ASAP.
Are you happy at the moment?
As happy as I can be. I go back and forth on this question. I have achieved more than I can imagine at my age. That being said, there are still aspects of my life that I feel I have should have already reached. In any event, life is a work in progress and always moving forward.
If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?
Don’t rush. Take the time to enjoy being 16. Enjoy being young and carefree. And above all: be comfortable with yourself! If I had come to terms with the fact that I was gay when I was 16 I would be light years ahead of where I am now; scary thought haha. At 16 I was already working, in high school and taking care of my diabetes on an adult level. I would just recommend be a kid until you don’t have to be.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
Regret is for the weak. I refuse to regret what I have done in the past. While those actions and decisions may come back in positive or negative aspects of my life doesn’t matter. It’s the fact that in the last year I put myself out there and aimed for the best.
What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?
Accomplishing those life goals that will fix question number one, becoming completely happy. That entails feeling comfortable in my own skin as a diabetic, openly gay man and not the typical 21-year-old. In the next 12 months a few things I intend on keeping in mind:
1. Material things are nice but not a goal to achieve.
2. I would much rather impact the lives of those around me in the following 12 months.
3. In order to live longer I have to take care of ME.
What’s your secret to happiness?
This is where my life motto comes into play. Maybe not the most original or the first person to say it yet it resounds deeply within me. I will always try something once. How can you say you don’t like it if you haven’t tried it? It’s a great way to face fears, experience new things and gain new knowledge. Some of the craziest activities and adventures I have had so far are based on this motto. How else would I know what snake tastes like? FYI…it tastes like chicken.
What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
I get laughed at by my friends for this ‘practice’. I like to think I am an outgoing individual but there comes that time in the day where I like ‘me time’. Dubbed ‘David’s Quiet Time,’ I leave at minimum an hour to myself a day where I shut off all outside communication to the world. Close my thoughts from work, politics, concerns about life and all those other stress-inducing topics. The I completely zen out. I normally write, read or reflect during my hour to myself. I often challenge my friends around me to do the same in the era of technology we live in. As a social media specialist I am in constant contact with every piece of tech out there every hour of my day. This little hiatus lets me ground and pull myself back together. Oh, and I forgot one thing…in the words of GEM herself…VINO VINO VINO.
What’s your biggest regret?
Letting what others say about me have an impact on how I act. Ranging from a doctor telling me they know more about a disease I have lived with for 17 years to when I was coming out as gay to my family and friends. For instance there are so many stigmas and social outlines as to how a gay man should act that I found myself desperately trying to conform to such expectations. Trying to conform for acceptance and comfort for a decision I finally had the courage to voice. In the end it wasn’t me. Just the same, I understand a doctor spends a tremendous amount of time learning about a disease from a text book but I wake up with it every morning. Sometimes experience is better than book smarts. I will never again regret saying “no” to those people or doctors who give me an ultimatum instead of a choice.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?
My ‘kid’ is my little man Avery, a persistent little dog with a big personality. What have I taught him? Sadly not much; he gets the final say. I bow to the inability to discipline cuteness.
What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?
STOP OVER ANALYZING! Sorry that was me yelling at myself. I am notorious for doing this, and I blame the OCD, LOL. Silver lining: At least my sock and underwear drawer is color coded.
Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?
I can adapt. The past five years have been a roller coaster. Leaving home, medical fiascos, family problems and building a business. Whatever the problem was adapting and finding a fix was the only option. I am proud to have lived up to the words, ‘there aren’t problems but only solutions.’ Who knows what the future may hold, marriage to a partner, children to call my own or new avenues of work success. That’s the nice thing about being able to be proud…it doesn’t have to be about just one thing.
When were you happiest?
When I finally made it on my own. Having support from a loved one or significant other is always a goal, but that little voice in the back of my head telling me I can support myself is the best.
What ten words best describe you?
Nerdy, passionate, silly, loyal, determined, tidy, hard-working, vivacious, trustworthy.
David Westengard is a 21-year-old Social Media Specialist. His journey began in 2008 by attending college, then finding a job that seemed to stick. Social media expanded from a job to a hobby and a side business. He is currently working with a number of companies out of Southern and Northern California to improve and stimulate their social media presence online. He has been a type one diabetic for 17 years and was diagnosed at the age of 4. As a diabetic he is actively involved with medical testing and new technology to make living with the disease as easy as possible. He lives an openly gay life with a supportive group of friends and family sprinkled throughout SoCal. Everyday battles against becoming a couch potato keep him up and active. As an avid cyclist, hitting the road and finding new paths are a passion. He likes to take life in strides until the next adventure and new activity. David currently live in San Diego, CA.