How Job Stress Can Age Us

I noticed my first gray hair during my medical residency. It sneaked up on me at the end of a long, frenzied shift — one of those nights when Murphy’s Law seems stronger than the law of gravity. Two of my patients did slip and fall, though, so Newton made a strong showing too.

The next day, I found another gray. Then another and another, until I stopped counting.

I was in my mid-20s, and it was the first time I’d noticed my body aging — not getting stronger or faster or wiser, but starting its decline. The human body performs so many impressive functions, I thought: It heals wounds, clears waste, digests Doritos. Can’t it find a little pigment to keep my hair colored?