I Feel Sorry for … (Insert Name of Celebrity Douche Bag Here. For the purposes of this blog, I am going to use Justin Bieber. I feel sorry for Justin Bieber.
I know. Your jaw just dropped. Justin Bieber, the super rich 20-year-old celebrity? The one who keeps getting in trouble with the law? The one who had teen/preteen girls screaming his name and crying hysterically? Yep, that’s the one. Look, I know he hasn’t exactly been a shining example of good behavior over the past couple of years, far from it, but imagine what it must be like to be Justin Bieber. Yes, he has ridiculous amounts of money, can buy almost anything he wants and can travel anywhere his heart desires, but he has to be a total mess. Here are the reasons why your life is better than Justin Bieber’s:
- You don’t have all of your mistakes broadcast for the world to see. I did plenty of boneheaded things in my late teens and early twenties. I am not going to go into details here because I have a daughter and don’t want to give her any ideas, but trust me they were beyond stupid. When I made those mistakes, only the people in my immediate circle usually knew about them. I only had to deal with that level of public shame. (Except a couple that were done very publicly, but, fortunately, those people did not know my name, so I was somewhat protected. I became this “dumb girl” in a funny story.) Imagine all of your idiocy and growing pains broadcast on TMZ or written about on Perez Hilton. That would completely suck, right?
- You don’t have to wonder if your friends are really your friends or if they are only after money, drugs, celebrity, women, etc. Pick your poison. Justin Bieber has to wonder if his friends would still be his friends if he wasn’t “Justin Bieber”. You don’t hear about his friends rolling in his Honda Civic or partying with him in their Sherman Oaks apartment. Rather they are driving his Fisker Karma, Range Rover, Lamborghini or Porsche and are partying it up in his mansion. This has to be terribly lonely and he has to wonder if his success goes away, how many of them would follow. You have reasonable certainty your friends are in your life for you, not your millions.
- Your parents are your parents and not on the payroll. This is not an indictment of Justin Bieber’s parents. I do not specifically know if he gives them money directly – I’ll speak in more general terms because of this. If you are a famous young adult (like a Justin Bieber) and your parents are “regular people” – this means they are not famous and/or wealthy in their own right – then this puts you in a position of power over the people who are supposed to be guiding you. You can withhold money from them at any time. Very few parents have been able to resist this temptation and draw a line with their kids. This makes them untrustworthy as a support system, life guides and as people who will call you on your crap. I used to have this fantasy where my parents would go along with everything I said and would let me do whatever I wanted. In all honesty, it would have been scary. We should be able to rely on our parents to tell us when are out of line and to give us advice that will have our best interest at heart – not the biggest payday. If you’re famous and contributing to the support of your family, how can you ever really be sure of their motives?
- You are not a commodity, you are a person. After a certain level of success, famous people stop being individuals and start being a brand. They are advertisements and ticket sales, clothing lines and designer fragrances. You have the good fortune to be able to make decisions about your life that benefit you personally – Who are your friends? Who will you date? What car will you drive? What clothes will you wear? Where will you hang out? Justin Bieber is limited in these choices. Every choice he makes will impact his brand – date the wrong girl and people may like him less. Hit up a hot club and they like him more. He no longer can make his choices based on his own wants and desires, but based on what his fans might like. A perfect example is my own daughter. (Sorry, Charlie). She was a HUGE Justin Bieber fan 3 years ago or so and now she turns her nose up and comments on how he is bad news and makes “stupid decisions”. She is especially offended by her perception of his alleged mistreatment of his on-again/off-again girlfriend, Selena Gomez. (She is very protective of her). This change in her admiration had nothing to do with his talent or music, but her reaction to his personal life choices. You, in general, are free of this type of scrutiny. Lucky Duck – if you are anything like I was at your age, there are things you definitely wouldn’t want publicized!
- You do not have to be responsible for a multimillion dollar empire. I know, sign me up, right? Don’t leap so fast, my friends. The amount of pressure this has to create has to be mind boggling. How to spend it? How to share it? How not to run out of it!? Everyone suddenly wants a piece of you and your money. You may want to donate to charity, but which one, or two or twelve? Where do you draw the line? I was irresponsible with my money in my teens and twenties. I bought things I could not always afford and rang up some credit card debt. But I learned. There were natural consequences to stupid spending and I did not like them. (Think bill collectors calling at all hours). These young celebrities can spend without consequences, so they are not learning important life lessons. They aren’t learning to be a responsible adult.
Are you feeling a little worse for Justin Bieber yet? He may have money and fame. He gets to travel and hang out with some of your favorite celebrities. But it has to be a terribly lonely place to be. He is isolated while in the midst of the world’s biggest crowds. You can rely on the relationships you build with your friends and family. You get to keep your mistakes private, or at least limit the public exposure. You get to make choices for yourself based on your own wants and needs. And you get to learn the lessons that will enable you to be a fully functioning adult someday. Maybe we should condemn young celebrity a little less and can find it in ourselves to have some small amount of empathy for them instead.