Everything about Northern Ireland is complicated.
The peace process has carried us so far, but for some on both sides of the divide, the handshake with Martin McGuinness was impossible to stomach; the wounds left by the Troubles are too deep, it hurt like betrayal. Progress can painful. Yet I heard one republican say that as hard as it was, this day had to come.
If someone told me back in 1993 that this day would come, I'd never have believed it. I had just started working as a radio reporter at the BBC in Belfast. A few days into the job the IRA blew up a fish and chip shop on the Shankill road, killing 9 people and one of the bombers - kicking off another brutal and bloody cycle of violence.
This became the pattern. The newsroom was on standby, waiting for that next police alert, the next victim. Then the rush to get eye-witness accounts, knocking on doors, and going to funerals. Grief and heartache: anger and hatred.
When the ceasefires came out of this darkness it was an incredible, hopeful time. The pieces fell into place, laying the path to the Good Friday Agreement. All the archive footage brings back such strong memories: frantic, challenging - history in the making. It was amazing to have been part of it.
Northern Ireland seemed to have taken a giant step forward but there was no disguising the hard road ahead. In a way everything had changed but nothing had changed. Republican and Unionist views were as entrenched as ever, yet the process had started. The Omagh bomb shook it to it's core; one of the saddest, bleakest days I can remember, but people had tasted peace - they came together and made it clear there was no going back.
Progress has been slow, occasionally grinding to a halt - but somehow politicians on both sides found a thread of common ground. Then came the milestones: decommissioning weapons; power-sharing at Stormont; Sinn Fein and the DUP once sworn enemies, in the same room, working together, even laughing together; and the Queen's visit to Dublin last year.
The vast majority in Northern Ireland have taken all this in their stride; not always happy about each step, but they've an eye on the future: yet there are some who will be forever caught up in the past, too scarred by 30 years of violence or soaked in bitterness and hatred. This restless undercurrent will be there for a long time to come. But the peace process has proved to have a momentum of its own, inching forward to the next milestone. There seems to be an inevitability about it now.
So much tied up in a handshake, already heralded as a symbol of peace. But what's also telling is that Republican and Unionist politicians both claimed it as a victory. In many ways this ability to spin the same event to suit each side is what's got Northern Ireland to this point. This hopeful, peaceful point.