An unexpected lesson

Posted: September 22nd, 2017 | Columns, Featured, Gen-X in a Millennial World | No Comments

By Genevieve A. Suzuki | Gen-X in a Millennial World

As citizens of the World Wide Web, we’ve never been so vulnerable to depression than we are today.

We are all privy to the latest news, thanks to our smartphones and social media accounts. We know about acid attacks in Paris almost immediately after they occur and about North Korea’s latest missile launch over Hokkaido, Japan.

My early morning routine these days begins with me scanning Twitter to see what’s going on in our nation. By the time I’m out the door to work, I’ve already read about Russian threats to democracy, the most recent outrageous thing the U.S. president has done or tweeted, and whatever natural disaster is looming ahead.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

Last month, however, I was reminded by how important it is to be present in my own life and to relish any opportunity to spend time with loved ones.

In 2014, my daughter, a kung fu student of White Dragon of La Mesa, wanted to compete in a tournament in San Francisco. She was 5 and also hadn’t learned her entire technique, but the optimist in me believed her when she promised she could do it within a couple of weeks.

Gritting my teeth at prices while I booked the expensive trip, I told myself it would be worth it — and it was, although not the way I thought it would be.

In fact, what began as a costly trip wound up being priceless.

My husband Derek’s Uncle Cary and Aunty Carol lived in San Francisco. They had been happily married since 1966 and always welcomed us when we visited.

(l to r) Aunty Carol, Quinn Suzuki and Uncle Cary (Courtesy Genevieve Suzuki)

Uncle Cary, a kung fu film aficionado, was especially excited to learn about Quinn’s tournament. He and Aunty Carol insisted on attending and taking us to dim sum afterward.

During Quinn’s routine at the tournament, I felt bad when I realized she would not be able to win a top medal. After all, she never learned the entire technique. “Oh man, she’s so not ready. We shouldn’t have done this,” I said.

“What do you mean?” Uncle Cary asked. “She looks great! It’s enough that she competed and gave it her best effort!” His pride in my daughter woke me up. He was right, I admitted. I needed to appreciate that she wanted to travel to San Francisco just to be in the contest.

Later that day we enjoyed a delicious meal and a day trip to Golden Gate Park with Uncle Cary and Aunty Carol. We didn’t know it would be the last time we would see them together.

Uncle Cary unexpectedly died a few short months later in January 2015 and in August of this year, Aunty Carol joined her best friend and love of her life.

It rocks me to think of how lucky we were to spend time with them before they were gone. Uncle Cary’s words still resonate within me these days.

Because Quinn’s desire to be present is something to which we should all aspire. It was enough for her to be there and be counted.

So when you’re like me, feeling as though the weight of the world’s news is on your shoulders, take Uncle Cary’s advice and re-shift your focus on the positive, even if it means unplugging from social media for the day. There’s enough around to lift your spirits if you give yourself a chance to appreciate it.

—Genevieve A. Suzuki is a local attorney who lives and works in La Mesa. Her website is

Leave a Comment