"How Old Do I Feel?"

Illustration: Jen Troyer

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On September 11, 2001, I had a doctor's appointment. I gave the nurse my name—my maiden name, which I hadn't used in decades. Under severe stress, we all revert to our inner child. Acknowledging this helps you give yourself the kindness you'd show a terrified kid. Whatever age you feel, offer comfort appropriate to that age level. Say things like "It's okay, honey," "You're doing great" or "Wow, you can walk!" You'll be amazed how calming kind self-parenting can be.