It was a year ago yesterday that I landed in the South Bay. At the time, I had no idea what would lie ahead. But looking back, I cannot help but be grateful for all the lessons and blessings that were given to me.

I began working with a really, really smart company that is working really hard to make your drive easier. It really is a blessing to wake up everyday and love what you do. Going into the Waze office is like the first day school. The same enthusiasm and the same excitement that I felt every August morning for 17 years welcomes me every time I head to Palo Alto.

I have connected with and learned from some of the smartest people in Silicon Valley, both inside and outside of Waze, with some even living down the hall from me.

In the past year I have met and conversed with many of the people I admire such as Gary Vaynerchuck, Tim Ferris and Kevin Rose. I have presented and spoken to big brands, some of which I grew up idolizing.

I have traveled to the Middle East and even lifted a self-imposed exile as I returned to San Diego.

I’m not saying this to brag or to put myself on a pedestal. Rather, I’m bringing it up because my own professional growth and personal awakening has even surprised me.

I used to always be frustrated by my perceived inability to grow and learn. For moments on end, I used to think that I would never become the man I thought I could be.

Don’t get me wrong; I still struggle with things like everyone else on the path to enlightenment. I’ll half-ass an assignment  I’ll make a negative comment about someone or I’ll lead a girl on. But it’s because I struggle that I know I can still grow.

I’ve come so far, but I got so far to go. I know this, and that’s what makes me happy. Because I realize that life isn’t a bout a magical finish line that will make you all your dreams and goals come to. I used to think that I would be 100% in life WHEN; when I graduated MJC, when I lived in Spain, when I graduated from SDSU, when I worked for a big company, when, when, when…

See what I mean? Life is an infinite race, filled with an abundance of ideas and opportunity. The reward for playing life isn’t an arbitrary finish line, or a pot of gold, it’s the process. In his newest book Seth Godin says that the reward for doing your work, is more work. Working on your gift or your art is the greatest reward of all because it allows you to give the world your best.

A year ago I was struggling to get out of my own way. I had made questionable career choices and was too afraid to own up to them. Furthermore, I was scared to step out of my own comfort zone and challenge myself when time came to. All this stagnant activity was taking a toll on my personal relationships and severely inhibiting my growth potential.

It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day bullshit and complain about what we think we deserve. But if you take a moment and just appreciate what you have and what you have accomplished, then life shines more brightly.

So in a sense it’s crazy to look back and see how far I’ve come, even if I got so far to go.