At Defcon in Las Vegas this year, I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time. Some dozen years ago, I went to his wedding in Michigan, making an epic journey from Seattle to Chicago to Lansing. It was a happy time, and was one of the most fun weekends I ever had.

My friend is, unfortunately, going through a nasty divorce. He loved his wife, and tried really hard to make it work, but in the end the differences were irreconcilable. He went on and on with all of the details, the extent of his heartbreak, and all of the pain that goes with discovering that the investment of so much time and energy was ultimately for nothing. Worse than any of that, my friend told me, was the fact that he has to completely start all over again. He really has no idea where to begin.

I just realized I’ve been telling all of my friends exactly the same thing this weekend about my life in Beijing and my employer of a dozen years. Probably in even more painful detail. And so, bearing this in mind, I am more understanding of my unfortunate friend. Breaking up is hard to do.