When I was a kid, my dad used a hair product called Vitalis. My dad was cool! I wanted to be just like him. I thought Vitalis was the bomb. The smell was all man and it left your hair as pliable as one could expect after dousing it with oil. And man-o-man, the sheen was breathtaking. Vitalis ruled!
I’m not quite sure when Vitalis went out of favor in my house. But it did. Thankfully! My dad began to use hairsprays and then eventually shaved his head all together. My dad is still cool. I however have no desire to emulate this bit of folly, no matter how good his reasons.
This morning I had a vision of the bottle of Vitalis that so easily could be found in my dad’s bathroom. With bemused embarrassment, I thought of how my hair must have looked. I also thought about how cool I thought it made me. The Virginia Slims slogan You’ve come a long way baby! came to mind. Vitalis is still on the market, but it doesn’t look the same. I bet it has changed in a lot of ways.
Change. Sometimes we don’t even realize that change has come until we turn around and see where we’ve come from. Despite our fear of the concept, change is a natural part of this thing we call life. We can either choose to embrace the inevitable or we can fight it. I tend to embrace change in theory and fight it in reality. Change.
As I have taken some time during the lead-up to this new year, I have allowed myself some time to look back over the year past. I’d be lying if I said it was an easy year. It wasn’t! It was tough! In a conversation to a friend, I described it as school. Learning does not come easily for most of us I don’t think. It requires sacrifice, devotion, attention and a whole host of other attributes that, when combined, drain one of life itself. As the new year closed, I found myself drained. Exhausted. And so, I did the unthinkable…I slept the old year out and the new year in.
As I look back over moments during the past year, I do so, in some instances, with bemused embarrassment. I did that? I allowed that to happen? I put up with that? I would never! Last year was school and honestly, I didn’t pass all of it with flying colors. But I did pass! I know this because a new year has dawned with hope and promise for new beginnings. Uncertainty for sure…but new beginnings. Last year may have been about school, but this year is about graduation.
And that brings me back to Vitalis. Vitalis, at least as it presented itself to me today, represents old ways of doing things. They were cool…then. Now, they seem to be relics of some time we’d just as soon forget. I don’t even remember Vitalis no longer being en vogue. Something changed. New and better ways of styling one’s hair came along. No longer did you have to worry about the greasy drips on the back of your Sunday-go-to-meetin’ shirts or the grease spot on the pillow. The products have changed. They’ve become environmentally conscious. They’ve morphed! Hair product has evolved.
I am finding that life is about evolving and that evolving is a process. We highlight certain points of the process, noting when school is in session or when graduation has happened. But the process is continual. We are changing, often times without even realizing the change that is occurring. Sometimes it takes a memory of Vitalis to remind us just how much we’ve changed.
I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. — Jeremiah 29:11 The Message