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William Roloson, 8.

"No one can avoid aging, but aging productively is something else." -- Katherine Graham

It's only natural to feel bolstered when folks say, "You look great!" It would be better yet if they don't add, "for your age!"

Businesses thrive on enhancing our physical appearances by inundating us with all sorts of beauty products such as facial creams, body lotions, and hair grooming gels.

I don't mind. I still use some of that stuff to look and smell presentable even at my age. There was a time that makeup was almost exclusively a woman's thing. Not so today. I suspect that men spend as much time and money grooming themselves as their female counterparts.

It's a rare individual who continues looking youthful and attractive long after everyone else has passed his/her prime. For most people, all the money in the world won't help. Age has a way of ensuring that.

I began graying when I was in my early forties. I started dyeing my hair with Grecian Formula but gave it up after a year as my hair was also thinning out by then. It took awhile but I got over being told I looked older than my age.

Take it from me, an octogenarian. It's not all that unpleasant growing old as long as your health holds up. I'm sure a lot of folks who passed away before their time would've given their eye teeth to live a few years longer.

My wife and I exercise four or five times a week and ingest doses of vitamins and other nutrients to stay healthy. What we have found more invigorating is playing with our grandson William. I wrote an article about him shortly after he was born.

It's hard to believe William turned 8 this year and will be entering third grade in the fall. I assume that explains why I'm beginning to find it more strenuous to do things like mow the lawn which I did effortlessly until now. It won't be too long before he takes over!

For us older folks, habits like favorite shoes are difficult to give up. I still wear some of my weathered tennies everywhere to the chagrin of my wife!

The driver's license is another good example. I was 17 when I was first issued a license and I've been operating a car ever since. I will concede that I'm no longer the proficient driver I once was. Although my wife wants me to restrict my driving to short trips, I'm not prepared to surrender my keys just yet.

That's one of those things seniors are least willing to part with. But I know I'll have to face the inevitable sooner or later. When safety becomes an issue, it will no longer be an issue.

To many seniors, the so-called golden years are not so golden. Issues relating to health, finances and loneliness stand in the way. Of those issues, the one dealing with health is by far the most difficult to resolve.

With medical costs skyrocketing and services at a premium, that's one problem everyone is facing. And although finances and loneliness pose major concerns, there are a substantial number of supportive programs as well as resources to assist folks most sorely in need.

On the other hand, relief agencies and nonprofit organizations can't be expected to answer everyone's requests. Able-bodied recipients must show some kind of initiative if they want help. The Depression years taught me that when things get tough, one needs to learn to live without and make the best of it!

I hope I'm helping to prepare our grandson sufficiently to know what to anticipate and how to deal with it by the time he reaches his golden years!

Eizo Kobayashi is a Concord resident and a member of the Concord Senior Citizens Club. Contact him at columns@bayareanewsgroup.com.