What Snowolf said is probably the biggest part of it, but I've seen people kinda "lock up" in fear when going into something either new or something they were previously injured on. Done it myself in fact after a bad injury. Biggest thing that helped me was breathing slow intentional deep breathes before and riding up to a feature. Some can get scared to the point they will hold their breath while hitting a feature, which can tense you up even further.
You'll get it back either way. I'm roughly your age (34) and still riding park with no plans to stop so don't let your age get you down. If wearing body armor helps with the fear then go for it.