Exactly one year ago, I was walking into Trinchero Family Estates’ building on Gateway Drive with a coffee in hand, dressed to impress, and ready to design.
Five years of college, and two degrees later, I found myself at the entry way of my first big job. Not a part-time minimum wage job, but a career job.
One year ago today, was my first day as the Production Designer for Trinchero Family Estates.
And boy has it been a crazy first year.
I’ve got two bottles I designed on shelves in stores. I oversaw the entire 2011 Build A Better Burger campaign/contest, managed the primary artwork for the 2011 National Sales Meetings and created the launch material for our (at the time) top secret project Shatter. I helped launch almost ten new brands, and drank more glasses of wine while at work than I ever thought would be permitted without being fired.
I’ve gotten to work on large jobs like the anual holiday sell sheet, and small jobs, like digitally adding a Sutter Home logo to a corkscrew. I’ve learned more than I thought you could cram into a single year, and I’ve spent hours wondering when the “busy season” would wind down (answer: it doesn’t).
In one year, I have come to love where I am at. Both with TFE, and here in Napa. It’s amazing how after just a week of living here, you forget that this is a world famous tourist location, and that most of the people you see out at restaurants and around town- they don’t live here, and are probably not even from California. But driving to work each morning, overlooking the beautiful vineyards, watching them change colors with each passing season - it’s a beauty that can’t be put into words.
I’ve been fortunate to be given an opportunity that is more than I deserve. I always imagined what it would have been like to work and design for a winery, but I never thought it would actually happen. Now, I’ve spent the last year of my life doing just that. And for one of the biggest!
I’ve loved every minute I’ve been here so far. Not once over the last year have I woken up in the morning dreading to go to work. It’s true what they say, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” And for me, so far, I haven’t.
Ten years is a lot of time.
When you’re young, it seems like forever. When you’re young, you think of all that has happened in ten years; and in that span, you’re a little kid again.
When you get older, ten years goes by quick. You look back, and you see all that has happened.
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m twenty-four. My birthday is coming up in November, and I’ll be twenty-five before I know it.
In the last ten years, what have you done? Do you feel it went by quick, or did it drag on? In the last ten years, I started high school. Actually, In two days, it will be exactly ten years since my first day of high school. In the last ten years, I graduated high school, and moved to Chico to attend CSU, Chico. There, I would follow my passion and earn one of my degrees in graphic design. I would graduate with multiple degrees. In the last ten years, I would realize how much work I had done to get where I wanted to be when I received a phone call letting me know that I was hired at Trinchero Family Estates as a designer, a dream job. In the last ten years… the time has passed for me to write this post.
Look back. Think. Ten years ago, where were you?
Me? I know exactly where I was. It was a Saturday. I had just gotten home from playing an inner-squad scrimmage game with my high school football team. It was our first exhibition game before we started school the following week. We wrapped everything up, and I went home with my parents. I remember sitting in my room, talking to my mom and dad about the game that morning, and then we got a phone call.
I remember my mom excusing herself. After a little while, when she came back, something happened that I never could have prepared for; that I wish nobody would ever have to experience.
You see, growing up, I had my best friends. We had been friends since the first day of kindergarten, and we had remained to that day (and to this day still). The phone call was from my friend Brett’s mom. She was calling to let my family know that one of our friends, Justin, had passed away early that morning…
To back it up briefly, Just had been sick. For some time in fact. But he was a fighter. He always had been. But early that morning, Justin lost his battle.
Ten years… Today marks ten years since Justin was taken from us. A child, a friend, you had to know to understand. Always the center of attention, in the most humorous way possible. The memories I have of him, I will cherish for the rest of my life. The funniest person I have ever known, Justin lost his life way too early.
I was fourteen years old when Justin died. It feels like just yesterday was that Saturday morning. I remember the funeral. It felt like the entire city had come out for him. I remember going to his house afterwards, and his mom letting me sit in his bedroom…
At fourteen, you’re not supposed to watch one of your best friends get buried. I think one of the things I will always take with me, are my friends I have that were his friends too. The bonds we have shared throughout our lives, the memories we have, and the strength we were able to give to each other- those things were all possible because of Justin.
Ten years. It’s hard to imagine so much happening to us all in the span of ten years. But it is impossible to put into words what we all feel when we think that Justin has been gone for all of it.
I know that not a lot of these friends will see this. I know a lot of the people I wish could won’t. That is okay.
But, to the Henry’s… I love you. I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult these last ten years have been for you. I know that over these last ten years, we’ve only spoken a couple of times. That doesn’t mean that I don’t love you, and that I don’t think about you. Because I do. The pain you’ve gone through… I’m sorry. You raised an incredible son. I’m forever grateful to be able to have called him my friend.
To my friends… Robbie, Caitlin, Daphni, and everyone else… Thank you. Everyone who knows me knows that my friends me the world to me. They make me who I am. And while we all struggled through Justin’s passing, we were always at each other’s side. He helped create a bond that will last a lifetime. I love you all, and I thank you for your strength.
Mom, dad and Jen… When you think about raising a family, you can never prepare yourself of how to handle an event like this. But thank you for making it one to accept. Thank you for showing and teaching me how important friendships are. And Dad, thank you for helping me get Justin to play hockey with me. With all the memories all of our friends share, those memories on the rink with him only belong to me. And that is something I cherish more than anything.
Lastly, Brett… I love you man. You are one of the very few that I can say I’ve proudly called my friend for the lats nineteen years. And you’ve always been a great one. But I want to thank you. For showing me what strength truly is. What physical, mental and emotional strength is. Justin was a friend to all of us. But he was your best friend. Growing up, it was always Josh and Robbie, and Brett and Justin. I remember trying to put into perspective what you must have been feeling and going through, as if I had one day lost Robbie forever. The sheer fact that you got by each and every day demonstrates how tough you are. And I have always respected that about you. I know that today was a hard day for you. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been. But to lay your brother to rest like you did, and to see the man that you are today- that is something I admire.
Justin “Bug” Henry… you are missed more than words could ever explain. I can’t believe that it has been ten years already. You are loved, and missed more with each passing day. You will never be forgotten my friend. I miss you, and I love you…
As a designer, I find myself flooded with ideas, thoughts, and inspiration.
This is my place to document those findings. From work I've come across, to current personal projects.
All the other odds and ends are found on my other blog.
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