Dreams from a Nightmare

Looking back on a dark time but with an optimistic future. How can we help you going forward?
Liam O'Toole
March 20, 2023
Dreams from a Nightmare

It’s been a while since I sat down to write something beyond a weekly newsletter. Things in the gym have just been going at 100 miles an hour and I kept putting writing on the back burner.

“I’ll do one soon”

I think I’ve said that about 600 times in the last year. This week though something hit me and it stirred up so many emotions in me that I felt compelled to sit down and spew some thoughts into a Google doc. It’s March 2023 and this time three years ago was a pretty seismic week or two for humanity as a whole. There’s moments in life that you’ll always remember where you were when something happened. 

For some generations that’s the moon landing, for others it’s the fall of the Berlin Wall. On St. Patrick’s Day in 2020, I watched Leo Varadkar’s speech and I can safely say, it will be one of those, “I remember where I was when” moments.

If you could go talk to yourself on that day, would you be honest about what was to come?

“Two weeks to flatten the curve”

Would you tell yourself that it would in fact drag on for literal years?

I don’t know if I could to be honest. 2020 Liam would lose his mind. On the other hand I think of where we are now. Would I tell myself that? 

I don’t want to recap the hardship of the pandemic, you were there. You lived it. You remember the €9 substantial meals, the covid deniers, the vaccine deniers, the outdoor pints. All of it documentary worthy and simply mind blowing to look back on. 

For the gym it’s a strange one. We’ve changed so much since I sent the email in 2020 announcing we were closing for a couple of weeks. Buying the gym that November was my lifeline. It gave me something to work on.

It gave me something to dream about.

6 of my first 7 months in charge were during lockdown and boy did I dream. I had so many aspirations, I had so many hopes and I had so many fears. I could not wait to get started and it seemed like every week I was shaking my fist at the sky, cursing every deity humankind has ever worshipped as the lockdown was extended further.

But I was dreaming of where we are now. Actually I didn’t dare go so far.

Nothing I feared came to pass.

I have a team of exceptionally talented coaches that I would stack up against any team in this country and beyond. The scary thing is that we just keep getting better. 

I have nearly 200 clients who are amazingly kind, funny and enthusiastic for training. They make my job and the job of the team easier. You’re all unique and your presence brings something different to the gym every day you step foot in it. The energy of the room is defined by the energy of the collective individuals in it.

The energy in our room is quite often electric and nothing showcased that more than our recent “Open” where things simply got dialled to 11. The roars of the crowd as you watched your friends tackle a workout and the collective celebrations of each other’s achievements afterward highlight the power of the community we’ve built. It’s stronger now than ever.

It was the dream of moments like these that got me through the pandemic. It was the fear that we’d never get them back that gave me my first (and second) grey hair. You got me through it though and we’re here today because we’ve all grown.

2023 Liam has very different dreams to 2020 Liam. They’re bigger and far bolder. The reality is that 2020 dreams came true and now we are living it. 

I asked earlier, would you tell your past self about the harsh reality of the pandemic. But now, as we move forward I want you to think, instead of talking to your past self, talk to your future self. If after reading this blog, you wrote a letter to the version of you that exists in March 2026. You put that somewhere safe and set a reminder on your phone to go open it in three years.

Be your boldest and be your bravest. Dream big because you never know what can happen.

What would your letter say? What would be your dream?More importantly, how can I or the gym help?

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