By Bunmi Sofola

What most of us are guilty of is having that special article stashed away to be happily worn or used as an amulet at the right occasion. In spite of the fact that we regret doing that most of the time, our hoarding instinct prevents us from learning from the consequences of always saving the best for last. “Why is that beautiful bottle of perfume sitting almost untouched on my dressing table?” asked Kemi, a self-confessed ‘hoarder’ who was always stashing things away like a squirrel.

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“It was a birthday present from my husband last September and, of course, I’m keeping it for that special outing to wow my admirers! I look around the home and see numerous things that I should use or wear, but keep for the best. It must be because I came from a very poor family where if you were lucky enough to get something new or special, you hung on to it because it was unlikely to be replaced.

“In future, I’m determined to make some changes—everything will be used or worn, including my ear-rings and pendant set bought more than three years ago, to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary. What’s the point of keeping them? So they could be used for my funeral?”

Women who are fashion buffs must have lost count of some of the bad judgements they made following fashion fads. A few decades back, the satin lace became a must have for the fashion freaks, male and female. Social gatherings were packed with such an interesting array of the fabric that a friend used to laugh that the bloated ‘costumes’ looked like the astronaut, Yuri Gagarin’s on the men. Within a twinkling of an eye, another fabric had taken over, leaving thousands who’d heavily invested in the stuff, kicking themselves. That must account for why a lot of men are sticking with the guinea brocade these days. Never goes out of style!

Fausat’s passion is food. “I treat myself to expensive goodies from the supermarket and keep putting off eating them until they’re well past their use—by dates! The other day, I bought a very delicious looking imported ice-cream with nuts and put it in the freezer. I kept putting off the eating day as I wanted to savour every delicious moment. Without warning, electricity failed. I thought it would be a temporary thing but it was a fault from the transformer. By the time I got to the ice-cream the next day, it had gone soggy! I’ve even had delicious left-over foods turn mouldy in the refrigerator. Well, those save-for-the best days are over as far as I’m concerned. I shall now eat everything and wear everything long before they are outdated.

When I was a student in Kent, England, I came home to find my landlady having a serious discussion with a gentleman who turned out to be her insurer. She was getting on in years and wanted her house to be re-mortgaged so she could have some of the market value in cash. Since the bathroom was upstairs, she wanted a modern one fitted downstairs—that would save her traipsing upstairs whenever she wanted to use the bathroom. I was intrigued. “How do you intend to pay back the loan?” I asked her. She was pushing 70.

“There’s nothing to pay dear,” she assured me. “When I go, the insurers would sell my house, take whatever I owe them and give the balance to David,” David was her only child. Shouldn’t he have a say in how his inheritance should be used?

She shook her head. “He doesn’t want it. He has a bigger house and mine is old as far as he knew.”I should enjoy the money whilst I can.”

A few years after this, a close friend, who already had three houses in choice locations in Lagos eagerly phoned her two sons in the U.S. She had just secured a prime piece of land and urged the sons, who were holding down very good jobs, to send some money so she could develop the property for their use.

“Mum, why are you doing this to yourself?” her eldest asked impatiently. “What would we need all the houses for? Why don’t you sell the land and even one of the three houses you have and have a good time? Buy a good car and employ a dependable driver. Come on holidays more frequently. If we need more houses, we’ll get them ourselves. Stop worrying about us!” She was so upset she rang me up, sobbing about her son’s ingratitude.

As things are now, people, young and old, seem to be dropping dead, left, right and centre, leaving massive properties and cash they should have enjoyed to relatives—close and distant—to fight over. To me, it doesn’t make sense.


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