Podcast – Episode 0240 – Life Is Not A Dress Rehearsal

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In this episode, Joel and Antonia talk about “the deferred life program” that people often find themselves living.


In this podcast you’ll find:

  • Amazing things are happening around us every day, but all we can think of is the thing we need to be doing instead of being present.
  • Are you deferring the moments in your child’s life assuming you will have another chance in the future?
  • Everything is temporary. If you spend your life deferring everything, what will you regret when your life is ending?
  • Some of us have deeply embedded programming that encourages us to defer life
  • Society sees nobility in the deferred life program. There’s nothing noble about designing life the way you want it.  
  • People who create the lives they want are seen as lucky or selfish.
  • We have more control over our day to day lives than we think.
  • “Real life will begin sometime in the future. I need to suck it up now, but things will be much better in the future.”
  • People will tell you to stay present with your children because they grow up so fast. That is considered a noble occupation.
  • There is less messaging in society that you should quit a job that makes you feel miserable.
  • People see nobility in the struggle of working a job that supports the family even if you are miserable.
  • “Life begins at retirement.”
  • Deferred life propaganda can rob you of your life and add needless stress
  • It’s not whether you are allowing indulgences in your life, it is whether you are in your life right now.
  • Are you living the life you want to be living?
  • “Life is not a dress rehearsal.”
  • This life is real. Stay present instead of waiting for life to begin.
  • Some paradigms teach that this life isn’t the real life. That believers need to spend their time today preparing for a future paradise.
  • It is a skill to take your circumstances and make the best of them, which is something we can learn from these paradigms.
  • But some paradigms teach that nothing is good, so there’s no point in changing things for the better.
  • We settle into unhappy situations because we don’t think we have the permission to change.
  • We believe that making meaningful choices to suit ourselves is somehow bad, so we become more and more under-resourced until we can’t function.
  • “I’m supposed to be living this.”
  • “If I’m going to be a good person, this is what people do.”
  • We can architect our life, but changing direction and architecting something different is difficult and time-consuming.
  • “I don’t like my life! Who is responsible for me not liking my life today?” You are responsible
  • Wanting something different means architecting something different which requires permitting yourself to want something different
  • Stop kicking the can down the road
  • The deferred life program involves a lot of waiting. Waiting for someone or something to come along and rescue you.
  • We are actually waiting on ourselves.
  • There’s no board of directors for our life that is planning the next phase for us.
  • Maybe it is selfish to allow yourself to become so unhappy that you can’t be present with your children
  • Suck the marrow out of life!
  • We aren’t talking about delayed gratification: work hard now and get a better return in the future
  • Deferred life is a different mentality: it is a lack of permission to live the life you want
  • The first step is the awareness that you tend to think this way
  • We wait for the movie moment that kicks off the life we want: wedding day, 21st birthday, the birth of our first child, etc.
  • We keep waiting for the epic scene where we are the hero of our own story.
  • “If it is to be it is up to me.”
  • It is hard to design the lifestyle you want.
  • Sometimes when we honestly look at our lives, we see that we live an enviable life, but we are still kicking the can down the road
  • We get addicted to the future paced viewpoint
  • Some types may struggle with the tendency to defer to the future more than others.
  • What are the things you are deferring in your life?
  • Slow everything down and take the time to get present in your life
  • What would happen if you didn’t fulfill your promises? What is it you want to do? What is the ROI?
  • There is a lot of work to make sure you are truly in your life.
  • If you don’t want to live a deferred life you are going to have to go down to the wiring of your life and ask yourself the questions you don’t want to ask

 In this episode Joel and Antonia talk about "the deferred life program" that people often find themselves living. #podcast

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Showing 31 comments
  • Samantha Donndelinger

    Hi Joel and Antonia!

    I’m a new listener to the podcast, and excited to dive into these topics you cover. Such lovely stuff.

    As soon as I read the title of this podcast, I immediately pinned down what you were speaking to — the concept, the reality, and the feelings behind it. And what you had to say really spoke to me!

    I’ve been feeling discontent in my life for a few years now. I’m eighteen-years-old, and for a long time I used college as my “kick-off” to life. I think because school years are so concrete — high school, college, graduate school, etc. These clear timelines are easy to cling to for comfort. There were of course moments I felt content and present and living a good life. But when those times struck when it seemed like I wasn’t making a difference, I wasn’t going anywhere, I felt unhappy, I used college as a way out. Language like “Oh, well, once I start college I’ll make friends that really count. Once I graduate high school, I’ll become more confident. In my career is when I’ll really find my voice. I’ll make a difference in the world once I grow into adulthood.” This criteria I projected onto the upcoming experiences made choosing a college, a major, what I expected to be the perfect start to my life, an impossible decision.

    I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Nothing was perfect, nothing fit my dream. Nothing as simple as a degree would make my life the life I wanted. Because the truth is, deep down, I knew my college experience wasn’t the answer to living my best life.

    This past year has been tough.

    I decided to take a gap year, to really look at what I value, what I want, when I feel present. Veering off this path I’ve been deferring to for the last five years was such a difficult choice. Somedays I thought I was depressed, stuck, not going anywhere. I had been working toward this dream, fantasy, but I could feel it was going to keep snowballing. There was a point when I almost carelessly picked a major, thinking my career would work itself out, no matter the major. That’s when I would be happy. That’s when I could start putting in real work and dedication. That moment is when I had to sit myself down, re-examine my thoughts, and ask a question — what if… just maybe… my life had already started.

    This feeling of sculpting your own life, is terrifying in a way. All the responsibility is now on you. But! Working through that, embracing some of that fear, shines through with relief. And excitement! Yeah, so I could screw up. Pick the wrong major. Take three more gap years. Marry the wrong guy. But I am constantly in my life, living. I have choice right now. Heck, I get to chose how I greet the next person I see. What I make for dinner. Things as simple as that, to things more extreme. Every day I can recommit to my studies. Or change them.

    Even though this concept showed up a lot to me through school, I see it in my life in many ways. And as an INFJ, it feels so empowering to know other people feel or have felt this way too. As an enneagram 9, it made this more real and harder to sweep under the carpet. Comparison comes into play in these feelings as well. Looking at other people’s lives, envying them, but then starting this conversation, and hearing that these people feel a similar way about one thing or another brings so much relief and acceptance.

    I think it’s important to talk about. It’s important to address, dive into, and see what’s there to uncover.

    Thank you for helping bring some more clarity to this interesting subject!

    Can’t wait to keep uncovering.


  • Jesse

    Hey Joel and Antonia!

    Thanks for the great content as usual. I just wanted to share a personal experience/viewpoint concerning this podcast.

    This is probably going to seem like a bit of a misinterpretation of exactly the nuanced point that is being discussed here, but I think I can tie it back to relevancy. My wife and I have been
    working sort of a “strategic” deferred life plan for the last 8 years or so. We both have valued higher education for all of our adult lives, but both came from families with no college degree
    experiences. We have been trying to enrich our future quality of life by investing in ourselves.
    The part where this ties into the topic is the sacrifices and the mentality that it takes to stick to the commitments of a long-term plan. I can’t begin to expound on the sacrifices we have had to
    make along the way. From quality time missed with each other, other family members, and money sacrifices (we have taken turns educating and have paid for almost all of it out of pocket), it has been a long, difficult road. On top of the focus on education, we had our first child
    halfway through my four years of school. He is truly a blessing and has brought so much joy
    to our lives, but as any parent knows time and energy become drained with young children. Right now we are looking at the last 5 months of my education and looking forward with very much excitement to moving to a place where we truly love to live, can raise our son in a happy place, and finally have the quality of life we have been working towards all these years.

    All that being said, I have been spending a lot of time thinking lately about tempering the fantasy with some reality of the near future. I know that life is messy and that getting through this season is not going to solve all of our problems and ensure that we will live happily ever after. It has been so long since we have truly been able to live in the moment in the way that many people do, and I think there has been a lot of happiness sacrificed as a result. I’m trying to stay grounded in reality while also trying to keep my excitement up for our new life!

    That’s basically it for my experience contribution, but I wanted to take a moment and truly thank you, Antonia for sharing the things you’ve been facing with family. I can relate somewhat to what you were saying about having your daughter know her grandparents. From my perspective, as I have grown up and begun my own family, there are things we have to reevaluate as we move through life. Yours is more extreme than mine for sure, but I think we all have to create our best version of what our children are exposed to as they grow up. What I am talking about is how we as our parent’s children decide to keep or throw out experiences and beliefs that we were raised with. When we get a life partner and have a child with them we start our own new family dynamic that cannot be exactly like the one we were raised in. This causes friction with our parents (most unfortunately), that has to be confronted or at the very least felt by everyone involved. Without being able to see the future and how our kids turn out as adults, I think the best thing we can do is be authentic within our immediate family nucleus. Hopefully our parents
    are understanding in this, as they surely experienced it to some extent when they were establishing our families. If not, there must be a difficult conversation about boundaries and preserving the new family values that we are trying to establish. This can very tough on a relationship with your parents, and is a very hard issue to face. At least to some extent, I feel your pain.

    Good luck to you in navigating these deep questions, I am a huge fan of your content, podcast, and how you live your lives. Thanks so much for the discussion!

  • helen

    This is an interesting podcast. It solidifies in a way what I have been discovering about myself lately. Before hearing this podcast, I thought of it in the the context of the mentality that I developed as a kid of “when I grow up, I’m going to…” which doesn’t seem to have left me even though am an adult now. Because this stuff hasn’t happened yet, it still feels like I haven’t grown up yet. Time to make it happen.

  • Megan Mills

    Thank you, Antonia, for the examples at the end! Those were so helpful and a great addition to an already awesome podcast. You said “I don’t know how interesting my life is” and to respond to that, I think it is helpful (and interesting!) to hear the down to earth, day-to-day things. Because most of us won’t be applying these concepts to huge, Hollywood situations. We’ll be applying it to hard familial relationships and living situations and raising kids and so it’s helpful to have such relatable content.

  • Diana S

    Hey guys. Great podcast as usual. INTJ here. What I’ve figured out thanks to the death of my Dad in June is that I’m ready to be limitless. How I go about that is being intentional about my decisions in the here and now. Fake it til you make it was the way I started this process, and by that I started thinking of all the options that I want to take advantage of with the resources I have. For instance, I inherited a large sum of money (to me). I had more fun and had more satisfaction figuring out what to do with this money without spending it! After I pondered the many different things I could do with money I figured out the best way to use this resource was to be future minded. I paid off some old debts which will enable me to move forward, energetically and emotionally. This was freeing and felt like I was preparing myself for the future I am creating. And creating my future is something I do with the intention of my decisions on a very regular basis. I’ve come to be unattached to all the results of these decisions. I go by how I feel when I make the decisions if that makes sense. Most of the results of my very intentional decisions have been more than I ever imagined.

  • Ken

    Hey Joel, Antonia or whoever is reading this,
    MBTI and other online tests have called me INTJ. Few are better at procrastination and delayed gratification than myself. I was on Twitter and Facebook (yes, even Intuitive Awakening), but I left the social media platforms (I never bothered with Instagram or Snapchat or miscelleneous) because I felt that I wasn’t ready to get out there and connect with the world as I haven’t figured out my life yet. I felt that people will not take me seriously unless I’ve done something noteworthy and become a thought leader.
    Funny enough, I haven’t made much progress since then.

  • Krista Moncado

    I’ve listened to several of y’all’s podcasts now, and this one struck some epic chords with me. I’m a 40 year old INFJ that was raised in the same cult you were, Antonia. I know you didn’t name them, but the phrasing and principals were so precise, I immediately clued in and laughed out loud with recognition and glee! Thank you for speaking your truth. I’ve been completely out since 2009, and still recovering from the damaging thinking processes. What you said about it not being a thought to turn, but an automatic process struck home with me and I think will be helpful in my continuing journey. I appreciate your vulnerability, and if y’all are ever near Missouri, I would love to have a chat!

  • Toni

    What a brilliant podcast. It really got me thinking. I guess this is why the Buddhists meditate on death regularly to help address can-kicking.

    Your comment, Antonia, about your 15-year old self loving this life and envying it. Oh my gosh, yes. I so agree. Time to start relishing it. My 15-year old self so would.

    I’ve been contemplating my career and relationship but this made me realise the aspects I was missing. I so appreciated your vulnerability Antonia (and great clarifying question to get there Joel). When you started talking about family, I realised ‘Ohhhhh. THOSE kind of questions. THAT kind of level. I got you’. Thanks so much for that.

  • Kristi

    Hello – 40 y.o.INTJ here. I really enjoyed this podcast episode- it resonated with me! I was living a deferred life until a divorce at the age of 33 forced me into the present. I spent a year grieving my deferred life. I had created such a strong deferred life and gave up significant things for “the future” that it felt like an incredible loss. Now, I am so thankful for that divorce.

    Thank you for your vulnerability. Your discussion around the deposits made by your parents earlier was a powerful framing for me. When I prune toxic people from my life, people around me have questions. My response previously was they were toxic. You have helped me process one level deeper. The toxic people are withdrawing more than is available.

    Thanks for this powerful episode!

    • Angela

      Hi Kristi,

      I love how you just captured the phenomenon of leaving (and grieving) a deferred life.

      I am nine months into my departure (single again after a 10 year domestic partnership) and am just now getting my wings back. I like how you talked about the incredible loss of the deferred life especially after creating such a strong bond with it.

      Last week I wrote the following blog post to *begin* expressing my return and unpacking the me that had been deferred. I haven’t thought about sharing it until now.


    • Angela

      Oh, I am also an INTJ in my (mid to late) 40s. Lol, I felt this was important to add.

  • Kelly M

    I resonated with this episode very strongly! For the past couple of years I’ve been wrestling with the same idea of life deferred, and interestingly, it started for me when I hit 40 also. I’ve hypothesized the trigger of this, and it’s the realization that time is not an endless resource (seeing that half my life is now past!), or perhaps it’s facing a new season in life with my kids now embarking their own independence. You articulated that perhaps it is easier not to think about it rather than to change course. For myself, I would tweak this to say that it’s easier not to think about it than it is to *make decisions*. The rub with my INTJ desire to have decisions in place is gaining friction monthly, and finally my greatest desire has shifted from deferring decisions to discovering a new trajectory.

    Great point, Joel, in mentioning that often times we think “life will start” with each next milestone. I think that drove the first half of my life. I didn’t consciously think that life would *really* start after xxx, but the stereotypical order of events did dictate the decisions in my first half of life: do the education thing, the marriage thing, the bearing and raising of children thing….and now that the checklist is complete I’m left evaluating why I still have the notion that one day I will actually have a handle on life and be settled down into my “real life”.

    Antonia, hearing your strategy in putting everything on the table is similar to what I’ve been working towards myself. I’ve been trying to revisit my life mission and all the various hats I find myself wearing, all my time pursuits in light of how/if they support this mission, and if all the drain holes in my time and energy are efficient in serving my mission. It’s hard work! My mental focus works against me. I would love to hear of any systems you have been utilizing to get a comprehensive picture of all the facets that deserve evaluation.

    Great job, guys. I love what you do. I’ve had a long-time interest in personality evaluation and how it serves to help us live life better. You’ve helped me take this to a new level.

  • Ruben

    Hey, enfp here <:
    Listening to this one I really think you guys should look into 'lifebook' aka life in 12 categories into self reflection to define and design your life. I initially was introduced to it in mindvalley podcast.
    Tbh I also think some of your questions are useful to ask and answer for the lifebook itself.

    Categories being: Your Health and Fitness, Intellectual Life, Emotional, Character, Spiritual, Love Relationship, Parenting, Social Life Financial Life, Career, Quality of Life.. Which all should combine into your Life Vision through evaluation.

    Some foundational questions include :
    What do I believe about *category*? – Vision
    What do I want in this "category"? – Purpose
    Why do I want that in this "category"? (keep asking why until you get to bottom reason) – reason, driving force
    What do I need to do to get what I want in this "category”? – strategy

    The course itself is a bit costly imo. But I believe the principles is self exploratory. (#enfp)

    My story will be for another time.
    Keep up the good work!

  • Kate

    Great topic! One I’ve (INFJ) struggled with for a long time… I think I’m a little closer to on track for making MY life happen… in part from the thought exercises in this book:
    Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. Two Stanford professors who apply practices and techniques typically taught for product design to your life.

  • Nick Guetti

    So much to talk about here. I’m an INFJ, and have always been very sensitive to how my life “feels” and very thoughtful about what ought to be done about it. At age 48, I’m basically in the position Joel articulated, very much feeling the pressure of making my life what I want it to be, and that trying to balance this with loyalty to my relationships and basic necessities is an overwhelming responsibility. I sometimes find myself in a state of near panic about this, as I don’t feel that I am realizing the potential of my greatest gifts at all, for although I am busily constructing the architecture for enabling that, I also feel that I may have started too late and may well have missed the boat, which is depressingly frustrating. (I have lately decided that writing, philosophy and education are my dream occupations, but I have education & job experiences mostly unrelated to these, and to retool at this time would conflict substantially with my present relationships.)

    But I also wanted to blurt out some connections I’m making between this podcast and my philosophy that I find very interesting. When you talk about the difference between the “things in one’s life” and one’s “life itself”, you are articulating the practical version of what Heidegger calls “beings” and “Being itself” respectively. “Beings” are what he called “ontic” (and almost always disparaged them as “merely” ontic). The ontic is whatever thing or things seem to be “present” to us. For him, the real deal was “Being”: the “ontological”. Ontology isn’t about “what exists”, but “Existence itself”: ontic beings are just what seem to be there. Ontological Being is NEVER what seems to be, because it recedes from view behind the smoke-screen of the “merely” ontic, and can only be accessed by human beings, and only under very specific circumstances. Now the philosophy I belong to (Object Oriented Ontology, or OOO) doesn’t agree with Heidegger about everything, but he is quite influential on us: in fact we want to expand his theories beyond his own use of them. Very briefly, OOO tends to think that the value we and others experience in our lives depends on the relations we build with the objects of our love (or allure, desire, respect, investment, feelings of involevement, appreciation, etc.), which returns importance to ontic beings
    (who are as much or as little capable of accessing Being/the Real as we are, which is hardly at all and only indirectly through the sensual/aesthetic realm…which is also the ethical and metaphysical realm, for us). In the book “Dante’s Broken Hammer”, Graham Harman (a brilliant and unusually accessible philosophy writer & INTP) talks about the poem “The Divine Comedy” (commonly known as Dante’s Inferno), in which Dante basically says that Love is the highest ideal, and that the way God judges us is the same way an art or wine or literary critic judges artworks etc.: according to our sincerity in the pursuit of our Love-objects. Fraud (pretending sincere Love for something/someone with an ulterior motive) is the cardinal sin, for which you go to the Inferno. But there are also three ways that Love can be done improperly: 1) Love for a “perverse” (inappropriate, unsuited, unworthy) object–which may not be the wrong object for everyone, but only this person in particular; 2) Loving a fitting object too little (slothfully or lazily, not acting enough in relation to it); and 3) Loving a fitting object too ardently or excessively, to an unhealthy degree. For any of these minor sins, you basically go to Purgatorio and get purged for a short eternity before they let you go to Paradiso. Harman goes on to talk about the implications of this idea for philosophy, especially metaphysics, aesthetics, and ethical concerns. I find this to be all very compelling, and it has inspired my own life and my fiction writing intensely.

    Another Heideggerian point relevant to this podcast is the difference between two kinds of time: chronological (time as objectively measured by clocks, etc.) and kairological (time as experienced by us in a real way). I mention this only to reflect that since Heidegger’s time, chronology has become even more excessively emphasized now, to the point where it is very difficult to find the sweet kernel of kairology in our lives. This is a real public health crisis, in my opinion. With so much data-dumping about the dire situation we’re in going on (“the end of the world is nigh!”), I think we should react to this by emphasizing kairology in how we train ourselves and teach our children ever more than before. It is obsession with chronology that brings about “ends” in the first place (one could argue that it has impelled a lot of ecological destruction). If we had been more concerned with the quality of our kairological experience of time and the love-objects we place in it, we might not have gotten ourselves into so much trouble. Regardless, our experience of the time we have left is surely no less important now than it ever has been.

    Thanks for your wonderful podcast. You’re both awesome!

  • V

    I’m an INFP and struggle with living and being in the moment rather than reflecting on what could be, and this is especially relevant now because I have big plans for next year. And of course, I have to suck it up until then, when my life actually starts! 😛 Although I feel that is true to some extent, there are definitely ways I can start better appreciating my current life, even if it’s not the situation I want to be in for the long term. And, even once my plans are set in motion, I need to be conscious about remembering to stop and smell the roses, and to reap the joys of my current circumstances.

    Thanks Joel and Antonia for the much needed podcast and reminder.

    • Angela


      I feel you. I am an INTJ and just ended a 10 year relationship where life was deferred by choice (didn’t really understand what was happening until the end of the relationship). Now I am back to me but have to restore what I lost as well as to start completely a new. In saying this, it is sooo easy to think about the life I want as opposed to the life I have right now.

      I am trying however to find things to celebrate in the right now. But, it is work! I would rather live when I’m out of the whole as opposed to living while in it. 🙂

  • janet cade

    Me too Kristy Howe. This was Insane that i found this today. Had been thinking along these same lines, b u t needed Antonia and Joel to articulate with their honest intelligence for me ToDay!. Yeah!! Loved it and Thanks to you. Could thoroughly relate. Coming from a religiously f’d background (almost cultlike) it does create a space for one of ‘you don’t deserve – can’t have – will never qualify – you just don’t get what others have. YOU are the girl who is at the birthday party that doesn’t get any cake. Sorry b u t – that’s your life. Thank you Antonia and Joel for your Wonderful Work. It is Sooo helpful and inciiteful for me – the f’d-up Mennonite INFP. b u t – not any longer. After listening to that yesterday i am having the most wonderful, dreamy day EVER. I can have cake — and a Big piece too – party or no party … just on an average day!!

  • Caty Lee

    this is profound. thank you both for being generous and open with your emotions. you continue to make a difference in my life weekly (even more than weekly since i’m constantly listening and relistening to old podcasts). my life would be, at the very least, 85 percent worse had i never stumbled upon the personality hacker podcast.
    also, like Joel emphasized, it was instructive to hear Antonia share personal feelings. it helped provide a more solid foundation on which to understand these concepts, particularly the idea of questioning perspectives and choices on an assumptive level. this is definitely an episode i’m going to keep returning to throughout my life.

  • Kelly

    This is my favorite Podcast by far, and the first I have commented on (INFJ)! It seems to me the heart of this Podcast is the search for contentment. There are times I have forced myself to “be present” while somehow simultaneously disconnecting due to a larger current of dissatisfaction with life, relationships, finances, etc. I remember a definition of contentment as whether or not our expectations for our lives match the reality of our lives. If there is a disconnect there is discontentment, so we have two choices: 1. lower our expectations or 2. change our situation to better match our expectations. I do believe this takes that “deep dive” on our mental wiring to understand how we got the expectations on what life should be. As Joel talked about his expectations for movie like moments, I similarly believe my life to only be meaningful if it makes a global impact with an epic story along the way. I can easily negate the simple or mundane things of life. Strangely, the moments I have been most content with life were in the midst of the simplest times where I was saturated with deep relationships and surrounded by a strong community (where my role was clear and important). I say all of that to say, I hear you Antonia, and I’m actually moving to Oregon next summer. I honor your vulnerability…it drew me in…I was hanging on your every word. So, thank you!

  • Kristy Howe

    Whoa. What are the chances that I would decide to open this email today, and then listen to this podcast today, when I have never listened to one before today — and this is exactly the message I needed to hear. I wonder, how many me’s are in the exact same space today?

    It was a pleasure to find and listen to this today, thank you so much for sharing. And for the insight and the thought-provoking words. And for the much needed reminder that only I am directing this life, and that is what I have chosen to do, and I MUST do what I have set out to do. Very thankful and I will listen again, and probably again.
    me: INFJ – 49 yr old single mother of 2 adult children; grew up and lived in KC, MO most of my life. Always wanted “more”, always searching; oftentimes unconventional, but towing the line. I’m a “rule-follower” and a fixer and a giver. And of course, much more, but those are the basics.
    9 months ago I did something big (for me) and brave (so people say) and moved to Dallas, Tx, transitioned out of my secure decent-paying career, and left friends and family behind to pursue something….else. I didn’t know what that was exactly, and I still do not know. My grown kids (24. 26) were extremely supportive, most friends were supportive even if they didn’t understand, and it was pretty low-risk for me, no aging parents to leave behind, no grandchildren, my kids are thriving, this was “my time”. and so here I am. I can be proud of this! It is time to dig deep, direct this life of mine, and keep moving forward. I literally have no idea (well, I have some ideas) what is next but this dialogue, this confirmation that this is OK! this is what we do, this is living, this is exactly what I needed to hear today. Time to dig deeper and be present. Architect my life. Such a help on this day. Thank you.

  • Zubir

    Thank you for this episode and thank you for your candidness. I’m an INFP in my early 30s, and although I’ve made progress, I often return to periods of relative stagnation. It can be easy to be stuck in the mundane and to contemplate on the past and future. Being in the present moment can sometimes be especially tough for me, but today, I feel proud for taking steps to build my future. Since Effectiveness is my 3-year old process, I struggle with being very accomplished yet I aspire to have my life in order.

    I look forward to more of your content.

  • Pam

    I’m an INFJ who recently retired from teaching, left my (adult) children and moved back to California. I wanted the mundane part of life to stop for a few months so I could catch my breath after 30 years of parenting and teaching in mostly extroverted environments. Instead I got pulled back into expectations of family and old friends who thought I would take care of them and put up with bad behavior (like I always had) or be more extroverted (like they remembered me). And expectations of what one should do in retirement – go to Napa, go out to lunch, travel. Instead, I want to do what I didn’t get to do enough of when I was working so much – I want to read and learn and connect the dots on the whole picture.

    So I have been deferring life because I feel guilty. I won’t give myself permission to be happy because I feel guilty for leaving my children. And I feel guilty because after a lifetime of service I don’t want to put up with other people’s bad behavior anymore. So I’m looking at everything in my life (possessions, commitments, relationships) and deciding it I still want it in my life. Thanks for the reminder that we can decide how we want our lives to be.

    Antonia, I took my children to California so many times to visit their grandparents because I wanted them to have a relationship with them. But because my parents didn’t like me, they didn’t like my children. I don’t think my children have any happy memories of their grandparents. I wish I had evaluated my beliefs of family duty long ago.

  • Alex Booth

    Great podcast! I have not unpacked what is coming up for me in terms of type (INTP), age (48), or other circumstances, but I resonate with the topic very much. Antonia mentioned that awareness was a prime driver and it seems like her level of awareness has reached a critical point that is forcing her to examine everything even down to the assumptive level. The concepts that resonate with me are emergence, choice, cost and avoidance. I have a lot of respect for anyone who actually honors the creative freedom they have, to whatever extent they are able to muster, by accepting responsibility as the chooser (as opposed to the victim in need of rescue) and doing the noble work of living intentionally in the messy middle.

  • T

    Ahead By A Century – The Tragically Hip
    No dress rehearsal reference in the lyrics
    Influenced Canada’s Gen X 🙂

  • Dana S.

    Thank you for unpacking this topic. The idea and the reality of Deferred Life is coming into stark relief for me as a working parent, spouse, and an adult child within a family of Deferred Life enthusiasts. It is so helpful to be able to listen to both of you talk — and actively listen — to each other about how this is unfolding for you in real time. I have definitely considered some of these same questions (maybe not at the assumptive level) with regard to Expectations and Obligations around work and family.

    On a related note, I hope your team enjoyed the Chicago meet-up! I really enjoyed meeting Antonia, Charis, Nii, Joel, and many fellow fans of the podcast. Thanks for coordinating!!

  • Michael J.

    Three cheers for Slowing Everything Down!

    Also, keep in mind: “What is most personal is most universal.” ― Carl R. Rogers, On Becoming a Person: A Therapist’s View of Psychotherapy

  • Karen


    Thanks for saying how it is not considered noble to do what one needs to do in order to fully live. And maybe “noble” isn’t the right word, but perhaps that is because we tend to equate noble with sacrifice, even when that sacrifice is unhealthy.

    Congratulations for figuring this out at 40. I didn’t start understanding what was happening until I was 48, and then it manifested sort of like an explosion and resulted in hurting someone I really didn’t want to hurt. But the alternative was slow lingering death (metaphoric), and I couldn’t bear that.

    I found PH when I was on my upswing (this whole process took nearly 5 years, I would say) and you have helped me understand why things happened the way they did. MBTI is a great frame for explaining things. Thanks for sharing yourselves with us. I am a huge fan of your podcast, and was so sad when I had to be out of town the weekend you were in Chicago.

    • Angela

      Hi Karen,

      I’m in Milwaukee and have been thinking about creating an intuitive driven/self-actualization based meet-up group for those of us on the West (ish) end of Lake Michigan.

      Would love to collaborate with another person passionate about growing and connecting. Would you be interested?

  • Dina

    I wanted to say thank you to Antonia for sharing so openly about the things that you are struggling with right now. When you mentioned something along the lines of you don’t usually share personal details because you aren’t sure who is interested, I immediately thought to myself “I am!!” It is so helpful to hear real life examples of the things you guys discuss on a theoretical level. I really appreciate the openness and honesty you brought to the discussion today. Best of luck reconciling your family struggles.

  • Lauren

    Great podcast as usual!

    (I’m an ENTJ). Often, I think I end up with mixed messaging on this subject, as you guys mentioned. As an Effectiveness driver, I’m a total control freak when it comes to wanting to curate my life. On the other hand, there is so much of life that that is not within our control (others people’s choices for example) that we’re also given this messaging that happiness/peace is found in accepting life as it is (after all, that’s the main crux of so much messaging from present work).

    So at the extreme, I find myself caught between either trying to force things at the expense of others, or feeling as if I should just accept circumstances as they are, even if I’m not ‘happy.’

    Also, thank you so much for your willingness to be vulnerable and authentic on these podcasts! It takes a lot of courage to be open and honest about your experiences, and as a listener it helps to know you guys are humans dealing with your own struggles. <3

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