So here it is, the end of the year again. It’s true what they say about time moving a lot faster as you get older.

While being here in Amsterdam is still just as exciting for us, its changes this year have been extremely interesting. In our third winter here, things are normalized and ordinary, which feels great. This is home right now, and there are no regrets about our choice to still be here. While there are hard moments, of being far from all that is important to us, we have grown more roots and significance here that keeps us feeling grounded and supported. Family and friends still await our return to the US and the pull to be back comes out in various ways. It’s interesting and difficult at times, but it also allows for us to check in and make sure we are both happy. We know we’ll head back at some point, but it needs to feel like the right time, or we will be regretful. When we left the US, we were anxious for the unknown, but we knew it was right. It has to feel the same in order to be able to leave here.

This year was transformative for Al Stampa. There are not many things I can say to properly express the gratitude and happiness this year has brought to me. Working for and with people I truly believe in, by drawing and designing all day is something I dreamed up for myself when very little, and had no idea how to get here. Now here, the uncertainty of how to keep it going and growing is still there. I’ve come to realize that feeling never goes away, and I am trying to keep the same curiosity and drive I’ve had these past years, since that’s the only thing I have control of.

The most important take away from this year has been enjoying time off when it presented itself. There were spots in the year, mostly this summer, that presented some “time-off.” Since it mimicked last year’s timing, I embraced it and put aside any anxiety associated with “less work.” In doing this we were able to jump in more canals mid-day, plan some real time in Italy during and after my sister’s wedding, and have some serious energy for the intense client-filled fall period that awaited us,

New years resolutions are not my thing. Since my birthday is Jan 2nd, I never like to make a list of things to change or give up around this time. Instead of shedding off the things I don’t like about myself, I like to hold onto the improvements I’ve made. I hope to continue certain things that have become a huge part of my life that make me feel good, like yoga and meditation. I’d like to continue figuring out how to live in the now, thinking less about “figuring everything out" all at once.

Every year is a chance to try harder, be healthier and happier, and that’s what we’ll do.

Happy New Year to all. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for following along in this journey. We hope you enjoy it!