Today is Justin Bieber’s birthday. I’m not here to tell you how to celebrate and what you should hashtag while you’re doing it. I’m here to talk about how… Justin Bieber is 24 years old!?! Come on. Don’t be that person. Don’t be the “yeah, so?” or “who cares?” person. I’ve been thinking about that person lately. We all know someone like that. These are the people who drop the “yeah, so?” and “who cares?” in the comments sections, which never made sense to me because if it’s really “yeah, so?” and “who cares”, why are you commenting?!

So Justin Bieber is 24. I keep repeating it because I don’t quite believe it. How many of you, when you think of Justin Bieber, think of the number 24, think of him as being 24 years old, think of his age as having anything but the number “1” in front of it? I looked at it this morning and thought it was a typo. But of course he’s 24. Scooter Braun signed him 10 years ago this year. We’ve officially lived through our first decade of Bieber-ness. Justin is now older than Britney Spears when she had her first child. 24 is not young. 

We’ve talked often about how fame can stunt you at the age it arrives. It can also, however, age you. The child star celebrity may behave in a way that reflects the age they became famous but, often, they themselves feel old. They’ve been asked to grow up so fast. This is a mix of contradictions but they can all be true at the same time. By 15 Justin Bieber was working full-time, trying to live up to very grownup expectations, and making enough money to support his family. That’s a boy with a teen sensibility going through a very adult experience. It will never not be weird. And that specific kind of exhaustion takes its toll. The 24-year-old JB sees himself as a man. And, technically, he’s not wrong. Will how he sees himself and how the world sees him ever match up? 

Here’s 24-year-old Justin Bieber at church last night. Selena Gomez was there too although they weren’t photographed together. In the past, we’d hear all about how they’d celebrate each other’s birthdays and all occasions, really. Remember when JB rented out Staples Centre for a candlelight dinner and Titanic?