‘Retire or retread?” my father would ask when an acquaintance talked about ending a career. Having heard it somewhere, he thought it was hilarious every time he said it. My mother didn’t.

However, that is the question for workers of retirement age: Do we finish working, or do we find a new way to stay engaged?

Ending your career is unsettling. Many of us are defined by our jobs; they are our identities. I have been teaching for over 40 years; a teacher is a big part of who I am. And I just don’t like the word “retired.”

I keep being told, “You’ll know when it’s time to get done.” But do you? There is the case for knowing when you should leave a job. I have seen too many people who should be out the door but keep hanging on for whatever reason. Some are RIP – as a co-worker explained, “Retired in place.” Or a former high school teacher who had said she wanted to retire while she was still “effective,” but, in fact, hadn’t been in years. Lately I get asked a lot, “Are you still working?” I feel much too young to be asked that question, but do wonder if the questioners felt it was time for me to be put out to pasture.

A friend was very upset when people kept asking him when he was retiring. He was offended, thinking they thought he looked old, until I reminded him that they knew he’d been working at that job for many years.

However, when you do retire from your career, you have some options: no work, some work or a “second or third act” dependent on your age and your versatility. I plan to continue working.

My friend Sally doesn’t work any more, but she finds “balance,” as she calls it, between friends and family, me time and together time, hobbies and volunteering. This works for her.

My cousin Jeff retired from his full-time job as a clinical psychologist but is busier than ever. He stlll works part-time, still sees some clients at his private practice and takes care of his grandson one day a week.

Since we live longer, we can work longer, so exploring a second act is a possibility.

Beth, my cousin Karl’s wife, has indeed started a second act. She has finished her career as a Lutheran minister and is now working as teacher’s assistant in a New York school.

“The Intern” stars Robert DeNiro as a 70-year-old retiree, re-entering the workforce. This movie is hopeful for older workers, but also realistic. If we are not up to date with technology, we will not be able to go into certain fields. And like it or not, there are certain fields that are more suited to younger workers.

As for me, instead of retiring or retreading, right now I’m trending. For like many others my age, I’m trying to decide what to do with the rest of my life.