Tuesday, September 04, 2007

We all know that the only thing constant in life is change. But it is also one of the things we dread most. It's because we do not know exactly what the wind of change will blow our way. If the change which comes our way is positive change, one that elevates us financially, socially and indeed in all ramifications we would be all for it, but when it is an ill wind that blows our way we almost know for sure that dire consequences await us.

Such is the plight of some of us, who rather than take the hurdles we come across in life as lessons and try to pick up the threads of our lives would fall deeper into the clutches of despair, despondence, depression.

My father has this theory: Constant wrong decisions = Failure
Time

I don't know where he got this but I believe it.. It's a formula he swears by and has instilled in all his children. I like this formula because it seems sound to me.... of course that does not necessarily mean that all who fail have constantly made wrong decisions or that making constantly right decisions if the fool-proof way to success but in a nutshell, the theory seems pretty concise to me.

This leads me to my post for today.... I was pondering about certain acquaintances of my husband and I who were very well to do in the late '90's and now live like paupers. I am in no way celebrating their lot but I spent a lot of time in thought about the term "falling from grace to grass". It hit home when we paid a visit to this couple.....

Case Study:
Joel (my hubby's childhood playmate)and Mariam (not real names) got married in the late '90's.... then it was all rosy as Joel had a lot of money from his "Oil Bunkering business" -the most legitimate of all illegal businesses- and he had so much cash to spend then.... they always had parties for absolutely no reason and Mariam was always off to some distant country to buy goods to sell.... They lived a fast life, spending, partying, having fun, I used to wonder then just how rich I would have to be to spend without planning- that was how it seemed to me. She had two kids in quick succession and life seemed like it was going to be eternally blissful because they were living the life!

Fast forward to 2003....my hubby was away in school so I basically lost contact with his 'friends' some of them called occasionally, others even visited. I lost all touch with Joel and Mariam. In 2005, we ran into them at an event and they look like a shadow of their former selves... No nice clothes, no bling and just plain simple... I had to ask my sis-in-law if she noticed. Of course she did and we wondered, but left it at that...
Moving on to this year I got a call from Joel that Mariam had just put to birth and he wanted us to know... being that the Christening fell on a week day, we were unable to attend (because of work commitments and hubby and I decided between ourselves to visit them on any given Saturday.

Two Saturdays ago, we decided to visit them and called to let them know we were on our way. Wifey reluctantly gave us sketchy descriptions to their place... we got to the general area and called...believe me, it took about 5 calls before she answered and gave some more directions. We eventually located the place and parked on the street because we were not told which house it was....It took an over 20 minute wait and our having to question some security guards with descriptions of the family and the fact that a new baby was born recently for them to identify the house were looking for. Hubby wanted to go in, but I dissuaded him and told him to be patient....after all, we didn't give them the benefit of telling them beforehand that we planned to visit....

Finally Mariam made her exit from the compound- as we say in naijaspeak- and ushered us in...she was a shadow of her former self and she looked so embarrassed.... we got in and were all trying to act normal and all, Joel initially claimed to be sleeping, but later came out and it was on the whole a painful visit.... I felt so bad and I just wondered what went wrong...we all chatted for a while about old times and then Joel took hubby aside and confided in him about his situation. He alluded to the fact that his wife and her family ran him down...He said he spent millions for her dads burial, she never brought a penny in from her business, kept demanding for money for more...How very easy to apportion blame! They never saved for a rainy day....How about the houses you were building, my hubby asked? Which house? Apparently she spun tales about that and a lot of other things as well...bla bla bla...but where do they start? With 3 kids and no income, what do they do?

Our analogy on our return home was that they did not invest.... they thought that whatever their source of income was would last forever.... I recalled the days when I would see Mariam and she would go, Joel's building 2 houses now...One in Lekki Phase 1 and the other at VGC...where are the houses? I'm going to the UK next week to buy things for resale... what happened?.... She never even completed her Law degree at the University because she dropped out of school after her wedding...why oh why? Even the business she was doing never brought any money in, she went back for more and more from her hubby for every trip, Whatever happened?

I mourned their circumstance but I took the lesson with me. It pays to live with an uncertain tomorrow in mind because change will come and then, what happens?.... What do we do if an ill wind blows our way? Of course the average Nigerian will bind and cast and say tufiakwa! But still we know that He who fails to plan has planned to fail. As for me and my house....God help us, we're planning for our tomorrow today!

'moni

35 comments:

Boso said...

Hmm, interesting story. A word is enough for the wise.

Andy said...

Aaaaaah Nyemoni, I agree with your Popsie oooh. I gotta go invest ASAP!

Obinwanne said...

very interesting

Beyond said...

that's the trutyh.May God help us (amen)

Jezi Brown said...

i like this post. i was actually talking to my sister about it. constant wrong desicions= failure. In some ways I am suffering the consequences for that. I dont think their story fits that though. its more of not planing for the future

azuka said...

Too many people [Azuka included] never really remember to save until they need it :-(.

bighead said...

Sad story. And its made sadder by the fact that you could have been telling the story of millions of Nigerian families.

Believer said...

Nyemoni, so true. The Bible says we should look to the ant as she gathers her supplies during the summer and gathers food in the harvest, i strongly believe that is an admonition to invest in our prime earning years for our later years when we may not earn as much. Thanks for this reminder. It reminds me about what I wrote about finances, unfortunately in our educational system we are prepared to have jobs but are not really given any financial education. Great post!

UndaCovaSista said...

Wow. That's a sobering story. And you're right. No matter how hard we bind and lose, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail

Isi said...

stories like these make me look within. am i living the same life? i love clothes, love the bling, love the shoes and bags... but where do i draw the line? i don't want to get to a point where i'd have to sell all my jewellery to survive tommorrow. thanks for the piece. got to start investing.

Nonesuch said...

your have posted about my greatest fear in the whole wide world.As much as i want to be fulfilled and live a life of significance (cos that wat really matter not how successful you are or how much desinger bags you own those are nice too sha) i'm also afraid of falling from grace to grass and i constantly ask myself what are u doing wt the little you have? why shd u get more? if you cant manage your expenses vis a vis your income now why shd u earn more? i'm not in control yet but you have given me another reason to get my acts together and buckle up. Thank you.

Rinsola said...

these words come with such wisdom, thanks for sharing.

Arewa said...

Lifes lessons. We learn form our mistakes and those ommited by others.

Dont kno if i shld call it ignorane.. but how the hell did saving for a rainy day not cross thier minds? Then again maybe they just thought that that thier good fortune would last forever...

stuck in my throat o said...

The truth is that people who do not make legal money rarely remember to invest.easy come, easy go.
sorry girl.just got back from Ghana. will update asap.

Aijay said...

Very thought provoking. Life & its surprises!!
I hope they haven't given up.
It's never too late to start a new life.
It'll take a lot of determination, hardwork & commitment.
Wish them the best!

Btw, I Love your dad's formula. It's on point.

femme said...

im sure everyone knows that family or couple that onc 'lived the life' and now survive on garri.
it is very sobering
nobody is saying dont have fun but keep a little for tmrw. and why do the men always blame the wives in -laws?
we had family friends like this too. they built the most beautiful and luxurious house we had ever seen but soon after my mum had to keep sending food over.
it doesnt make sense

laspapi said...

"Who moved my cheese?"

That book says the mouse woke one day and its regular supply of cheese for daily food was gone.

No matter what it, chances are someday, the "cheese" will be gone. We all need to have alternative plans. What if?
An education, an alternative business, investments...

He spent millions on a burial and his wife's drain-pipe, masquerading as a business? Not very wise.

Thanks for this, 'moni

Deji Odusote said...

rjadYou said it all - May God help us. but I hasten to add that heaven helps those who help themselves. Truth is, this is a re-awakening piece, but how many of us actually save for the future?

Most people, not just Nigerians, live just a pay-check away from homelessness. But I know it has not been "bad luck". Remember that even "LUCK" could be calculated.

The husband had the opportunity of sayin a big "NO" to safe-guard the future, but he never did. He sowing where fertility is ZERO - burial and a bad investor.

May God help us. I don't mean to blog with this comment. It is meant to be a comment

DiAmOnD hawk said...

i think it's all been said... great post

Vera Ikeji said...

Very inspiring story. I always make plans tho. I take risks but not financial risks.

Ugo Daniels said...

See why they say, always keep some stuffs set apart for da rainy day. Now he regrets his footsteps. Of course he'll apportion blame to everyone else but himself, so lame!

princesa said...

Hmmm... i can just imagine how embarrassing it was for them... and the visit was impromptu too.
was disgusted by her husband's attitude too, the bothe of them are to blame for their situation.

I have always been a wise spender myself, this post is going to reinforce that even more.

Thanks moni.

Jaja said...

I believe I ve learnt something today. That i have finally gotten it through my thick skull..

Sister Nyemoni, You are very wise.

RYC: I dont need an optician... I use every opportunity to get at you!
Cheers

Babawilly said...

Nyemoni, your Dad is correct. Oil bunkering is not really a business. More like cash in hand aftr winning the lottery. Such 'victims' of sudden windfalls cannot become investors overnight. They would probably bounce back, after this bitter and important lesson in managing finances

pamelastitch said...

i agree completely. It is wise to invest, it is wise to plan ahead. But i feel sometimes that ppl get so stuck in planning that they never take risks.....

:D

I have always said this: Women, please get that education and finish it up. Who cares if your father is rich? or you marry an extremely wealthy millonaire. Honestly, i have seen the effect of education on women with my eyes. Main reason i am so pro school....

GREAT POST!!

Manda said...

I know of a family that used to do da bunkering biz too but i think the wife was wise enuf to invest so it's not soo bad for them now. Touchy story.

Atutupoyoyo said...

You know it is funny (and scary) how the most trifle of life decisions can be alter one's path in life. In fact even inaction can set about a chain of events. The most we can do is just pray for some kind of guidance. Great post.

Awoof said...

I'm loving you for this post, girl!!

You know, I was thinking about this same issue earlier and I believe that even God wouldn't support a lifestyle where, one foolishly spends all ones income (mostly on trying to buy things to impress people that one doesn't even like!! as with the case of many of our people)

Jesus spoke of 3 servants who were each given money and the masters reaction to how they spent the money. Those who made little profits were appraised with little, those who made large profits were appraised with a lot and those who foolishly spent the money were appraised with nothing. I thought and thought about that proverb and then I thought and thought about my life...

Onome said...

men me too ooo....i will sooo plan for my tomorrow today, i will invest for me, my children, my husband.....ah!! very touching story..may God help the couple

Zephi said...

aahhh.. am definitely kearning from there mistakes so I'll not make mine in the future..

Calabar Gal said...

Sad. The words.... if only.... comes to mind. Lets hope they pick up the pieces somehow and make something out of their life. A lesson for the rest of us.

Anonymous said...
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יש (Yosh) said...

Hey, thx for stopping by!

This post hits a core, since it's told about people who are that real to you! Points taken...

My 2 cents said...

This is reall sad, you can live above your means and expect people to be sympathetic. I hope they've learnt their lesson. They can start over but without being in denial...

God's child said...

To whom much is given, much is expected. If they werent able to use wisely what was given to them, how do they expect God to bless them with greater things?
Money is good, the love of money is bad, which appears to be the prob in this case.
Very sad indeed

 

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