It becomes clear to me that growing into an adult has little to do with leaving anything behind, and more to do with the responsibility of knowing.
Forget your worries about keeping your soft animals. You can keep them. You can keep your colorful things. But think: what will you do with what you know?
This is the real question.
You are an adult, which only means that you have lived long enough now that you must decide what to do with your knowledge. It is your duty.
What will you do now that you have seen the world is not kind? Will you be kind in its place? Will you be kind to everyone you meet? Or will you hoard your kindness, like a tired dog whose fur has fallen in all its scars?
What will you do, now that you know fear and all its soldiers? Will you hurl rebellion in a glass bottle to those who weaponize it? Will you scream back at it when it tells you to silence yourself? Will you hold the other’s hand, when they tell you quietly, that they too are afraid?
What will you do, now that you know love and all its terrors? Will you embrace it? Will you work to move through it? Will you want it even after it shows you your lover’s own fears? Will you learn to swim in it, so that you don’t drown like children do?
What will you do now that you know suffering, despair, the state of all around you? Will you sit and watch? Will you turn away from duty, to keep your soft animals close and sigh, “I’m nothing but a pretty babe in the wood”? Or will you pick up your fists, and march towards that which needs changing, with all the colorful things in your pocket, and the soft animal, sleeping safety back home?
What will you do, darling babe, now that you’ve grown, now that you know?
Decide. That is what the adults must do.