Created By: hbi2k on March 31, 2014 Last Edited By: hbi2k on June 9, 2014
Troped

In It For Life

MissingSupertrope for lifelong commitments, endeavors, or sentences.

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Trope
Most commitments and endeavors are temporary, by nature or design. High school typically takes four years, advanced degrees between two and ten, exploring an unknown region of space might be a five-year mission, democratically-elected representatives typically have term limits, and so on. These things are temporary.

Some things do not have such limits. In fact, some commitments, endeavors, or sentences are explicitly designed to be lifelong. Other times, something that is ostensibly temporary will be extended or renewed in perpetuity, rendering it de facto lifelong. The person who has wound up in such a position, therefore, is In It For Life. Note, however, that some things intended to be lifelong commitments (such as marriage) don't always wind up this way, with people managing to end their commitment early.

By definition, the Ur-Example is life itself, which is also the only example which can be universally applied to living things.

Subtropes: Longer-Than-Life Sentence, President for Life, Regent for Life, Resignations Not Accepted, Suicide Mission.

Compare Mandatory Unretirement.


Examples

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     Film 

     Literature 
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, service as a maester, in the Night's Watch, Kingsguard, and several religious orders is lifelong. The Night's Watch' traditional funeral rites end, "Now his watch is ended."
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: "Once a king or queen in Narnia, always a king or queen in Narnia." Important because it is not unknown for children from Earth to be taken to Narnia, installed as king or queen, returned to Earth, and then be returned to Narnia years, decades, or centuries later at which time a new ruler may be in place.
  • In The Wheel of Time, service as an Aes Sedai (female magic-user) is intended to be lifelong. When the new Amyrlin Seat (a cross between The Archmage and a female Pope) breaks tradition by demoting an Aes Sedai to Accepted (apprentice), it causes a major scandal. Even when it's discovered that the Restraining Bolt that is a major part of their identity as Aes Sedai shortens their lifespan by several hundred years, there is a significant faction that would rather die as Aes Sedai than "retire" and have their lifespan restored.

     Other Sites 
  • The D-class of the SCP Foundation are used as grunt labor and guinea pigs, taken from death row or third-world prisoners (and sometimes from the general populace) for a promise of a shorter sentence, and are executed at the end of the month. A life sentence doesn't necessarily imply a long sentence.

     Tabletop Games 
  • In the Pacesetter Games version of Chill, all PCs are required to be members of S.A.V.E.. This is enforced by stating that any member of S.A.V.E who is kicked out for breaking the rules will be killed by supernatural monsters within the week, with no way to avoid death.
  • Warhammer 40K: Space Marines serve until they die or they are too grievously wounded, at which point they may be put inside a Dreadnought to continue serving pretty much eternally.
    • Penal legions are pretty much this, since the idea is to redeem yourself of a particularly hideous crime by going on the most dangerous or suicidal missions.
    • Fire Caste warriors either serve until death or face trials every four years of service to go up a rank, at which point they can become advisors.
  • Warhammer: Dwarf Slayers are individual dwarfs who have dedicated themselves to dying in battle against a particular enemy (Troll Slayers, Dragon Slayers, Demon Slayers etc.) to atone for some past dishonor. The most successful ones are technically the biggest failures, since they're bad at the "dying in battle" part.

     Theater 
  • In West Side Story, "when you're a Jet you're a Jet all the way, from your first cigarette 'til your last dying day."

     Real Life 
  • Common for many gangs and other criminal organizations. For examples, see Resignations Not Accepted.
  • Marriage is traditionally this in most cultures. As it is currently practiced in modern Western society, it is averted roughly as often as played straight. Most people still keep the "until death do you part" bit in their vows, although Fridge Logic sets in if one or both spouses have one or more living ex-husbands or -wives. If a couple persists in marriage due to the lifelong commitment involved despite being miserable, it's an Awful Wedded Life.
  • "Once a Marine, always a Marine." Largely symbolic as they are not (usually) literally expected to serve for life.
  • Most royalty and nobility are this way, with "Dowager" added to the honorific of a widow whose title derives from a deceased husband and whose effective authority has passed to an heir (i.e. "Dowager Countess").
  • Many religious orders, such as the Catholic priesthood, are For Life. The papacy is supposed to be this; it was averted by Pope Benedict XVI, the first living pope to step down in centuries.
  • Life imprisonment is a common punishment for severe crimes such as murder, especially in jurisdictions that lack the death penalty. See also: Longer-Than-Life Sentence.
Community Feedback Replies: 37
  • March 31, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    Took the title of The Chronicles Of Narnia out of the Pot Hole. Remember: always state the source.
  • March 31, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    This sounds like one of those things like For Happiness or For Great Justice, rather than a lifelong thing. I recommend a name change.
  • March 31, 2014
    hbi2k
    ^ I'm open to that. Suggestions?
  • March 31, 2014
    randomsurfer
    Life is about two men serving life sentences.
  • March 31, 2014
    DAN004
  • April 1, 2014
    hbi2k
    Eh, it's not terrible, but I think it's best to avoid "X" in trope titles unless it's the only way to describe the trope concisely. For Life is easier to use in a sentence: "Service in the Night's Watch is For Life."
  • April 1, 2014
    DAN004
    Occupied For Life?

    Note: don't just use For Life.
  • April 2, 2014
    randomsurfer
    In West Side Story when you're a Jet you're a Jet all the way from your first cigarette till your last dying day.
  • April 2, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
  • April 2, 2014
    hbi2k
    ^^^ What's the objection to just using "For Life"?

    ^ That works too.
  • April 2, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ check Hero_gal's comment.
  • April 2, 2014
    frosty
    ^^ Basically, people could get confused and misinterpret "For Life" as a reason or rally cry, instead of a length of time.

    I like In For Life or In It For Life
  • April 3, 2014
    hbi2k
    I like In It For Life better. "In For Life" makes it sound like it refers only to a prison sentence.
  • April 3, 2014
    frosty
    ^Fair enough. In related news, here's an example:

    Hunting on Supernatural is a lifelong occupation, but not usually by choice. Hunters who leave the life always get dragged back in or killed by some monster they ticked off in the past.
  • April 8, 2014
    Antigone3
    In the Pacesetter Games version of Chill, all PCs were required to be members of S.A.V.E.. This was enforced by stating that any member of S.A.V.E who was kicked out for breaking the rules would be killed by supernatural monsters within the week, with no way to avoid death.

    I never picked up the Mayfair Games reboot, so I don't know if this carried over or not.
  • April 9, 2014
    hbi2k
    ^ Does that go under Tabletop Games?
  • May 3, 2014
    Arivne
    ^ Yes.
  • May 12, 2014
    hbi2k
    Waiting on a fifth hat.
  • May 27, 2014
    hbi2k
    And now we're down to three. Any particular reason why one was removed? Open to input.
  • May 27, 2014
    lakingsif
    Don't be asking for examples, input, or hats in the title/laconic, please. There are appropriate tags for examples and input help, and hats will come when people think it's ready to publish, don't expect them/be begging as soon as you think it's ready. I know from my own yk's that the sponsor generally thinks it's better than it is, tries to force examples to fit, etc. Patience.

    I'd add that Life sentences in the UK (now, it changed recently) aren't allowed to be longer than 30 years, and usually only come to something ridiculous like 8. If you manage to collect a couple of life sentences, though, you can be in prison until you die.
  • May 27, 2014
    CrypticMirror
    ^ Not exactly true. The change in law merely says that that their has to be a review after 25 years of imprisonment to see if there is still a public interest in keeping that prisoner in jail. All that was abolished was the life without possibility of parole, it is still more than possible (although for a whole host of reasons, not least the cost, not necessarily desirable) for someone to be imprisoned for the rest of their life. There is no automatic release. Also, please remember, even when a person on a life sentence is paroled they are only given that on licence. That means that they can be recalled to prison at any time, technically they do not even have to commit another crime, for any reason.
  • May 27, 2014
    lakingsif
    ^ ugh, law. But, wow. That could be mentioned, still? Just making the point that "life imprisonment doesn't always actually mean life in prison, mainly because it's very expensive".
  • May 27, 2014
    CrypticMirror

    Personally I would think it would be better to keep that off the wiki. Its Flame Bait and would only lead to people trying to push their own moral values.
  • May 27, 2014
    lakingsif
    ^ guess so, and not needed/ barely relevant in any case.
  • May 27, 2014
    hbi2k
    ^^^^^ Fair enough, but somebody apparently cared enough to remove a hat, and I'm curious as to what they feel is lacking.
  • May 27, 2014
    lakingsif
    ^ oh, asking why hats are removed and/or why it's not getting hats is fine. Your comment above that, though, hinted at impatient and expectant as if getting that hat immediately was a right. Saying that, using it as a bump to place your yk higher isn't a half bad idea: just saying "bump" would have been better, then all the hats gained are organically gained. The begging in the title/laconic is the real bad idea. After trawling through yk's as I do, there's a discussion now on the bad trend
  • May 27, 2014
    hbi2k
    ^ Gotcha. Didn't realize that was considered a no-no. Now I know, and G.I. Joe is half the battle, and stuff. (-:
  • May 27, 2014
    DAN004
    ^^ It is entirely okay to ask for hats. Do you have a beef against it?
  • May 27, 2014
    lakingsif
    ^ yeah, but also there's been a mod discussion on how it shouldn't be in the title or laconic, or anywhere really, but especially not those places. It got edited out on this yk by Maddy.
  • May 27, 2014
    DAN004
    Of course it shouldn't be in the title when this is launched. Couldn't they understand?
  • May 27, 2014
    lakingsif
    ^ Bad form and pimping, mostly it's for the sponsors who think their work's a stroke of genius as soon as three days have gone by and whine about not getting hats and being told their yk is miles off launching. You know, I could find you the discussion, mate, you can add your input.
  • May 28, 2014
    hbi2k
    Yo, I really don't have any problem not putting requests for hats or input in the title. Not a problem. At all. Could we maybe get back to this YKTTW? 'Cause I really do think there's a niche in the wiki that's not being filled, and I'm all about suggestions on how we can best fill it. Let's do that.
  • May 28, 2014
    lakingsif
    Here's a minor re-write of your description.


    In life, many commitments and endeavors are shorter than said life, by nature or design. School takes up the short few "best years of your life", exploring an unknown region of space might be a five-year mission, democratically-elected representatives typically have term limits, and so on. These things are temporary.

    Some things - groups, typically - do not have such limits; in fact, some commitments, endeavors, or sentences are explicitly designed to be lifelong. Other times, something that is ostensibly temporary will be extended or renewed in perpetuity, rendering it effectively lifelong. The person who has wound up with such a position, therefore, is In It For Life. Note, however, that some things decide to be lifelong commitments (you know, like marriage) don't always wind up this way, people managing to escape such covenants.

    Guess what? The Ur Example is life, which is also the only example which can be applied to all living things.

  • May 28, 2014
    Chabal2
    Awful Wedded Life, since the couple usually stays married until death finally parts them despite advances in divorce laws.

    • Warhammer 40 K: Space Marines serve until they die or they are too grievously wounded, at which point they may be put inside a Dreadnought to continue serving pretty much eternally.
      • Penal Legions are pretty much this, since the idea is to redeem yourself of a particularly hideous crime by going on the most dangerous or suicidal missions.
      • Fire Caste warriors either serve until death or face trials every four years of service to go up a rank, at which point they can become advisors.
    • Warhammer: Dwarf Slayers are individual dwarfs who have dedicated themselves to dying in battle against a particular enemy (Troll Slayers, Dragon Slayers, Demon Slayers etc.) to atone for some past dishonor. The most successful ones are technically the biggest failures, since they're bad at the "dying in battle" part.
    • The D-class of the SCP Foundation are used as grunt labor and guinea pigs, taken from death row or third-world prisoners (and sometimes from the general populace) for a promise of a shorter sentence, and are executed at the end of the month.
  • May 28, 2014
    hbi2k
    ^^ Are there particular examples that are formatted incorrectly or lack context? They all look more or less fine to me.
  • May 28, 2014
    lakingsif
    You want to italicise all work names, there is a thread somewhere on How to format an example. The West Side Story example is the most glaringly context-lacking. I know it has the quote about being a Jet for life, but it seems like it could have some "Tony was one of the Jets, who wanted to be with a girl from an opposing gang but as the song goes..." then have the quote (or something). The one about the film Life, also. I haven't seen it, but surely there's more than that.
  • May 30, 2014
    hbi2k
    Fixed the non-italicized work names, not sure how that got past me. Added some context for Life. Haven't seen it myself, so anyone who has, please feel free to make any corrections or elaborations that seem necessary.

    I think the West Side Story example is fine, personally. Won't complain if anyone more familiar with the work than I am wants to add some elaboration, but I think it works fine as it is.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=1unn5naw8csbzwy96tkxh11z&trope=InItForLife