1. No, I don't quite know why I'm updating this now.
2. It's probably not going to be a regular thing.
I've been logging on every few months for the past five years, keeping up with you all, and it's a lovely surprise when I find a backlog of entries - though sometimes the surprises aren't always lovely themselves. People have passed away or moved on, life has happened, and that feels quite scary for a group of people who have existed primarily in your head for the last fourteen years.
Yes, it's been fourteen years. I have known some of you for half my lifetime. And some of you I have never even met.
So here's the deal: I am back in the north of England now, with access to London & the rest of the country via trains and a car. Those of you who I haven't met yet, let's try to make 2017 the year it happens. And those of you who I have met, let's do it again.
Here's how you can get in touch, if you feel the need:
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook - look for Annie Beauchamp
Twitter - I live a double-life as a fiction writer; my personal account is now redundant but if Twitter is your thing, it's @_phoebe_quinn
Instagram - again, it's my writer account, @_phoebe_quinn
And here's a quick run-down of the last five years:
2011: I lived in Watford, I worked for a private mental health company with dubious ethics, I met Rob.
2012: I lost my job due to whistleblowing, I moved to Sussex with Rob in his parents' house (his parents were abroad most of the year), I got a job as a Senior Support Worker in London and moved to Leyton.
2013: Things were stable for a while. Back and forth to Sussex to see Rob, getting on at work, wondering what the hell I was going to do with my future. On New Year's Eve I got offered a job as a Deputy Manager at my company.
2014: Three weeks after I began at my new position, and two days after Valentine's Day, Rob broke up with me on the first day of cat-sitting in my uncle's flat. He left, I curled up on the stairs and cried, I spent weeks planning to get him back. (Spoiler: we haven't seen each other since then.) A month after we broke up, I went to my old flat to clear out his stuff and found a letter from King's College London: I'd been accepted to the Addiction Studies Masters programme, one that only took less than 20 people a year. I started it in the September, while taking on a part-time HR position and being a part-time support worker. I moved to a new flat (on my own) in the spring, During the summer, I had a brief dalliance with an old university acquaintance who kissed me for the first time outside my flat, in the middle of July, after the binmen had been on strike for three weeks. We didn't last long. It wasn't because of the bins, mind; he was choosing between me and someone else. He married her the following May.
2015: Early 2015, I fucked up my life and someone else's - someone I worked with had been 'in love' with me since we'd met. When he declared his feelings on a drunken night out where we never did find his friends, I had no idea what to do and messed him around for weeks. Eventually, we stopped speaking and I lost a good friend. Three months after that, I met Dave through Tinder. On our first date I told him stories about how I was a terrible person, and we compared favourite Roald Dahl books. My brother got married, and Dave was my plus one, calming my nerves before my reading during the ceremony. I finished my university course and found a job I didn't want but paid well. It was terrible. Dave moved in to my tiny Islington flat in December.
2016: I passed my Masters with a distinction. Dave was with me at graduation, along with my parents and my uncle, who between them had financed the whole shebang when my two jobs hadn't been able to. My niece was born a month early but perfect. I started taking my writing more seriously - it had always been an on/off hobby, but I focused on turning it into something real. In May, Dave and I looked round a flat in Catford. That evening my parents emailed to ask if we wanted to live in a property they own to rent, back in my hometown. We said yes, and moved in August, one week after my terrible job finished. Before we moved, I interviewed for a recovery worker job at the local prison and was accepted on the day. The year ended with one of my oldest friends and one of Dave's oldest friends drinking and celebrating with us in our house, smoking cigars in the rain as midnight sounded.
2017: I am in the final editing stages before (self-) publishing a book this summer, and working on a new one. Dave is doing the work he wants to do. Today is exactly two years since we met. The life we have now is filled with all sorts of happiness I didn't even know existed.
That's about it, I think. I'm going to try and check in here more often.