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Young Blood

Growing up with Justin

It was May 2009 when Justin Bieber started singing incongruent young love math equations: “Me + You.”

Who would’ve thought this young boy, dressed in a gray hoodie with those oversized purple Supras, would define an entire generation’s culture? It might be the hair flip—who knows?  All I know is, every summer in 2010-2012, I would live for two things: Justin Bieber and swimming. That was the routine. Wake up to support Justin, catch up on his daily life, then prepare for swimming classes. This routine, 24/7.

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There was a lot of hate, so much drama and a decade’s worth of emotional investment. It was the “Bieber Fever” indeed. Heck, it was the plague. At one point, parents were worried about their kids growing their hair for that infamous “Bieber haircut.” Girls were collecting purple bracelets, purple shirts, purple everything. And for some reason, boys would irk girls by calling Justin “gay,” which, of course, we later found out, was their defense mechanism to mask their own insecurity.

It’s been nine years since, and looking back, I can say it was definitely a crazy period in my life. Nine years later and most of the people who sat behind their computers voting for Justin in the MTV Video Music Awards or Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards are now grown-ups. Most of us are now professionals. Some even have families of their own.

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It’s interesting to see all these teenagers grow and embrace the things they were once passionate about. A girl who’d always tweet about every #hashtagJustice is now in law school. A friend who had a strict social media schedule is now studying to become a doctor. Some of those “Twitter famous” Photoshop gods who’d edit our Twitter backgrounds are now full-time graphic artists.

Of course, there are those who are still trying to figure out what they want to do. But you get my point. Who knows what we’ll be 10 years from now? All I know is: Justin Drew Bieber, thank you for being a structure and a presence in our youthful purposes.

A lot has happened since Justin’s “One Time” or “Baby” era. To say that he has matured would be an understatement. Just read this revelation from his song “Purpose.”

I don’t know if this is wrong because someone else is telling me that it’s wrong

But I feel this, so let me just, like, try my best not to let this happen again

We weren’t necessarily put in the best position to make the best decisions

You can’t be hard on yourself for these were the cards that you were given

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So you have to understand that these, like,

That’s not who you are

You know you’re trying to be the best you can be

But that’s all you can do

If you don’t give it all you got, you’re only cheating yourself

Give it all you got

But if it ends up happening, it ends up happening

That’s what’s happening with me

It’s like, God, I’m giving it all I got

Sometimes I’m weak and I’m gonna do it

And it’s like I’m not giving myself grace

I’m just, like, understanding, that’s just how it is

Many may be aware of the progress in Justin’s life, but a lot of us are skeptical of this new transformation. After all, branding is what makes up the media industry. From being portrayed as the rebellious, arrogant superstar to being a committed Christian—this is the ultimate plot twist.

But personally, it was when Justin recalibrated his life to know more of God that I, too, realized I needed a Savior. If a superstar like Justin Bieber needed some surrendering and humility, who do I think I am not to need a God? Eventually, I learned of the incomprehensible, unconditional love of God—one that saved me from my destructive nature and the vicious cycle of sin.

God’s love gave me purpose. I still can’t believe that God reminded me of my purpose through a young boy in a gray hoodie.

Hair flip.

* * *

Faith Nicole U. Cariaga, 20, BS Food Technology, currently leads the Philippine Association of Food Technologists-iota chapter in the University of the Philippines Visayas, but spends most of her time seeking unconventional wisdom.

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TAGS: Faith Nicole U. Cariaga, growing up, Justin Bieber, maturity, Young Blood
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