Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Life Skills for the Almost 30 - Developing Gravitas

Gravitas - feeling internally aligned / personally coherent, sometimes described as 'being comfortable in one's own skin', particularly in challenging circumstances

Yes, it is not mere myth. There are people out there who seem to have legal authority to occupy the space they take up on earth. If gravitas needed certifying, it’ll be by an organization more selective and elite than Mensa.

I’ve been trying to review my life, just in case I could pinpoint the exact time and place where I have decided to be weird and quirky instead of graceful and sensible. Searched and searched in vain, I have. But the thing about Almost-30 is that you are now of an age where you can finally shed the “innocent and na├»ve” wild card and move on to something that would allow you to become someone of more substance.

Gravitas is hard to come by, precisely because it cannot exist in a vacuum. We cannot gain the skill by attending university or reading tedious tomes of Plutarchian wisdom. Strange enough, a word that brings images of sobriety and stability in my head, is best developed in a dynamic (read: chaotic) environment. I guess if you have been through enough eccentric episodes in life, you pick up enough strategies to keep yourself sane and intact.

I’m just fascinated by the process of developing personal gravitas. When you observe people who do have it, they look so contained and still, where you on the other hand are ready to detonate and spill over any minute now. The first instinct would be to somber up, to turn off the 24/7 comedy channel in your head, to affect seriousness, to avoid situations that could ruin your poise and composure. Yet this way, gravitas would be a mere affectation. What I’m starting to figure out is that, one has to throw oneself into the fray and find a way to get to the other side. Scathed, bleeding, yeah, maybe, but more sure of self and sanity.

If we are only allowed to have one goal for the next ten years – I’d choose mine to be gravitas. I don’t mean to excise the fluffy, eccentric, one-loose-screw-away-from-unstable part of my self to achieve gravity. Instead, maybe gravitas can be progeny to these awkward characteristics rendering it substantial and relevant and real.


  1. So beautiful this site.Thank you.

  2. great post

    i think adolescence probably ends around 45 for most people

    then one feels free from judgment and worry about what other people think

    and just take pleasure in being themselves

    and voila! gravitas

  3. thanks for your comments, Sunjay and Paul. :D