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This is an email from Keepin' It 💯, a newsletter by ZORA.

Don’t rush the timing of your life

Hey ZORA Fam,

On Tuesday this week, I turned 29 years old (happy birthday to me!). A lot of my friends and family added a friendly warning in their birthday wishes to enjoy this last year of my twenties. “It’s all downhill from here.”

So many of us harbor a belief that once we hit a certain age, our ability to achieve our dreams starts to dwindle. We place a timeline on our lives: dream job by 21, married by 25, house and first baby by 30. If we don’t get exactly that in exactly that order, then we consider ourselves to be failures.

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As for me, I’ve never been afraid of getting older. In fact, I’ve looked forward to becoming a “grown-up” my entire life. The thirties and the years beyond always held the promise that everything will somehow be “better” once I was older. I believed once I hit my thirties, I’d put away childish things and all the issues we commonly associate with immaturity. My problems with confidence, self-esteem, mental health, negative self-talk, and toxic relationships, would simply vanish. I’d have no more worries. I’d be an adult.

I’d be grown.

I may not have been afraid of aging, but I’ve still subscribed to this attitude of a life timeline. Even though I’m not putting limits on my material success, I’m putting limits on my personal evolution. Maturity isn’t a destination to arrive at. Growth is an ongoing journey with pit stops and pitfalls along the way.

The last few months of pandemic and protests are perfect examples of how our personal timelines mean very little in the grand scheme of things. Everything will happen in its own time and in the meantime. It’s important to remind yourself that you’re doing okay just by making it through the day.

As I enter the last year of my twenties, I don’t yet have a dream house, my quaran-Ten is weighing on me and already, my knees ain’t quite what they used to be. But I can acknowledge my aging without fear and I can still look ahead with anticipation. Not for everything that I’ll be able to change, but for everything I’ll be able to experience on my way to where I want to be.

There is no time limit on success in any form. And there is no one way to grow up. There really is no such thing as too late.

Take care,

Jolie A. Doggett, ZORA Platform Editor

Join us on the virtual dance floor tonight to celebrate the ZORA Music Canon and Black Music Month!

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🎤 Having Our Say 🎤

Tennis player Taylor Townsend, who shined at last year’s U.S. Open, talks about acceptance and trusting the timing of her life.

There was a time when you almost quit tennis. What kind of space were you in at that time?

Within a short time [in 2015], my ranking went from 93 to almost 400. Mentally for my game, it was really tough and I struggled. And honestly, I feel like I was depressed because, over that calendar year, I won just four matches. I felt lost. My coach and I drove to South Carolina for a tournament. I was there for literally 36 hours. I lost. It was so bad. I was just like, ‘I’m tired of this.’

After that, I called my coach and told him I quit. And he said, ‘Just call me when you’re ready to hit.’ I was like, ‘Are you not listening? I said, I quit.’ Next day, I woke up in a panic. I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, I have to go to practice. I’m late.’ And then I’m like, ‘Oh shit, I don’t have practice.’ So it was literally three days, and then I called my coach. ‘I’m ready to hit again.’

Was that a major turning point for you?

Yeah. I think it was more of a humbling moment for me because I was like, all right, now it’s back to work. I think it was more so acceptance. This is where I am. It’s not where I want to be, but it’s where I am right now. I looked at the rankings. I was at 396 and I kept telling myself, ‘All right, the only way to go is up.’ It didn’t happen fast. It was a slow climb up.

That climb included playing 69-year-old Gail Falkenberg in a qualifying match. What have all of these experiences taught you?

It’s taught me acceptance of where you are in order to be able to move forward. But also, once you get to where you want to be, you’ll be able to appreciate how you got there.

It’s refreshing to hear that you trust the timing of your life.

In my story, timing is everything… Everything happened right when it was supposed to and how it was supposed to. You never know how it’s going to, but it’s just beautiful.

➡️ Read the full interview with Taylor Townsend here.

👀 Honestly, If 👀

Moments we want to see more of… or never again.

Honestly, if your social media feed has gone back to “normal,” that doesn’t mean that the battle is won. Black Lives STILL Matter and are still worth fighting for.

The Best of Us

News, art, and stories worth celebrating. All by or for WOC.

Celebrate Pride month with your favorite chosen family tonight as FX hosts a Pose-A-Thon featuring such dynamic divas as MJ Rodriguez, Indya Moore and more.

Channing Godfrey Peoples’s Miss Juneteenth, on Netflix, is so tender and moving. It’s a must-watch film about a former beauty queen who aspires to have her daughter walk in her pageantry footsteps.

Rumor has it that broadcast journalist Joy Ann Reid is in talks to get the coveted 7pm ET time slot vacated by Chris Matthews on MSNBC. If you know like we know, it’s about time!

Congrats also to broadcast vets and BFFs Jemele Hill and Cari Champion who’ve secured their own weekly talk show on VICE TV. Way to shoot your shot!

Hidden figure no more: NASA will be naming its Washington DC headquarters after Mary W. Jackson, its first Black woman engineer, and one of the ‘human computers’ portrayed in the 2016 film.

It’s official: “Black” and “Indigenous” are to be capitalized from now on according to AP Style in order to convey the shared sense of history and community among people from the diaspora.

The lineage of ‘Lemonade’ reminds us that Black women have been singing our truths, wrapped up in the blues, from the very beginning. Check out the ZORA Music Canon for some of our faves.

🗣️ The Last Word 🗣️

“A thing is mighty big when time and distance cannot shrink it.” — Zora Neale Hurston

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