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Refreshingly Normal Life-Choice

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When a character accustomed to a high-octane, adventurous lifestyle undergoes a change where they live what the audience would consider mundane or boring, only to find that they enjoy this way of living.

There can often be a Freudian reason behind this; life-or-death situations can get old when you experience them all the time, and even then the rewards that come with them never really last. But lying on the couch, talking for hours about nothing with the people you love, and keeping your house together? That's different. The planet exploding might seem like a bigger threat scale-wise, but you can't beat the small — and more personal — victories of managing to fix your wife's car or your kids giving you a finger-painted card on your birthday or winning an argument on who shot first with your bar buddies.

However, The Call Knows Where You Live and it never lasts. This can end one of three ways:

  • Option 1: The story ends with the hero finding the source of the weirdness (usually the Big Bad), destroying it, and retiring for good (or at least until the sequel).
  • Option 2: The hero leaves this happy life behind and returns to their action-packed way of life so that their loved ones can enjoy the life they can't have. This is typically treated as a Bittersweet Ending, as while the protagonist doesn't get the simple life that they wanted and will only endure more danger, they are content in the fact that their loved ones will be safe, and they were badasses anyway, so odds are they can handle it just fine.
  • Option 3: The hero finds a happy medium between 1 and 2, flying off weekdays to new and exciting horizons while spending their weekends in boring suburbia.

Expect their mundane stability to form when they suffer from amnesia and becomes reluctant to return to their old selves when they regain their memories.

Sub-Trope of Mundane Made Awesome. Compare Call to Agriculture, Can't Stay Normal, I Just Want to Be Normal, Incredibly Lame Fun, Refusal of the Call and Slumming It. Contrast Nightmare of Normality, where an exceptional person experiencing normalcy is treated like an Ironic Hell. Taken to extremes leads to Obsessively Normal. See also Punch-Clock Hero and Punch-Clock Villain.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Fruits Basket:
    • Kyoko Katsunuma in her youth was known as the infamous gang leader "The Crimson Butterfly". But after meeting the kind, understanding Katsuya Honda, she fell in love and quit the gang. She eventually married and started a family with Katsuya, before his tragic death forced her to become a devoted single parent to their only daughter Tohru.
    • Discussed with Arisa Uotani, who was initially angry when she discovered who her delinquent hero grew up to be. But the Hondas win Uo over, and she realizes she too wants a more refreshingly normal life, which Kyoko helps her achieve by helping her quit the gang.
      Uo: I'm just completely disappointed! That the Crimson Butterfly turned into a domestic, overly friendly, doting parent! I can't believe you've sunken this low!
      Kyoko: (smiles) I just... relaxed a bit. That's all.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War: Even if she was never in the running to inherit her father's business empire, Kaguya's natural intelligence and connections means that she could have probably thrived in whatever job she wanted. So, what does she ultimately choose to do with her life? Settle down with Shirogane and pursue a career as a photographer.
  • My-Otome: Lena Sayers, despite being a powerful Otome, chose instead to marry and have a daughter, sacrificing all of her Otome powers in the process.

    Fan Works 
  • In Avengers: Infinite Wars, when considering the idea of making a life with Peter Parker and Barriss Offee away from the war and the Jedi Order, Ahsoka Tano finds that she enjoys the thought of the three of them finding somewhere peaceful to live together, even after spending a year at war with minimal experience of being a Jedi in peace-time.
  • A Darker Path: After undergoing a permanent De-power, Eidolon is actually coming to rather enjoy retirement and is considering writing his memoirs.
  • The Golden Boys Last Temptation: After serving two successful full presidential terms, Prez went back to his hometown and became a clockmaker like his father.
    Prez couldn't run for a third term, even though there were a lot of Americans who petitioned for the law to be changed so he could. The next election had one of the lowest turnouts there ever was. Prez went back to Steadfast, where he lived alone and repaired clocks. He wouldn't write his memoirs. He wouldn't take positions on the boards of corporations. He wouldn't agree to assist later presidents as an advisor. He didn't play golf.
    He fixed clocks.
  • The Infinite Loops: Due to the way the loops work, loopers will sometimes find themselves living far more mundane lives than they are used to. While some find them boring, others (often ones who deal with Crapsack World Baselines) happily enjoy them, finding the relative peace to be something of a vacation.
  • Inhale Peace follows the aftermath of Dick Grayson having all evidence of his existence magically erased by a villainous spellcaster's parting shot. With nobody in the Batfamily or anyone else who had once known him able to confirm his identity, he has to rebuild his life from scratch... and gradually comes to realize that he's enjoying not being a superhero anymore.
  • In Tingle, when Yelena is sent to New York by Clint Barton to investigate a new criminal gang being formed, her subsequent reunion with Kate Bishop and team-up with Spider-Man leads to Yelena suggesting that she, Peter and Kate pursue a polyamorous relationship. Despite being the first one to suggest this dynamic, Yelena often finds herself wondering if she can settle down in one city and make a normal life after everything she's been through growing up. The fic ends with the triad living in one flat and Yelena the main 'breadwinner' now working with the New York division of X-Con Security, the company established by Scott Lang (Ant-Man) and his old prison colleagues, Yelena reflecting that she’s surprised at how she fits in to her role.
  • The Stargate SG-1 fic "Turning Point: Divergence" features the Tok'ra Queen Egeria being essentially brought back to life when the SGC are able to copy her knowledge and personality. She was initially just temporarily placed in a human body until the Asgard could create a clone of her original symbiote form, but since Egeria had fallen in love with Daniel Jackson, she ultimately asks to be placed in a clone of her current human form so that she can be with Daniel, sacrificing her potentially long life as a Goa'uld in order to be with the man she loves.

    Films — Animation 
  • Megamind : Superhero Metro Man becomes dissatisfied with his life and fakes his own death to become a musician.
  • Rankin Bass' Jack Frost: Jack Frost tells Father Winter that he wants to be human because, as the spirit of winter he's invisible to humans and can't share their fun when they appreciate his snow. He sings he wants to be an ordinary guy so he would fall in love and have a simple life instead of being the spirit of winter, and concludes tearfully that "it's lonely being one of a kind." Touched, Father Winter agrees into turning him temporarily into a human but warns him that, by the first day of spring, he must have earned a wife, a home to shelter, a horse, and a bag of gold, or else he will become a sprite again. Jack doesn't succeed, but eventually gets over it.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Clint Barton/Hawkeye is revealed to have a secret family off the grid in Iowa (since his wife Laura was a former agent who fully retired and needed a new identity). While at first he balances Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., and home duties, after the events of Captain America: Civil War, he retires completely from S.H.I.E.L.D. However, he was pulled out of retirement twice:
      • Avengers: Endgame: Clint's entire family was taken by The Blip, causing Clint to become the violent vigilante Ronin for five years until Natasha recruits him to join the Avengers' Time Heist. While Clint loses Natasha, he reunites with his family after Bruce snaps them back into existence and gives up being Ronin.
      • Hawkeye (2021): One year after Endgame, Clint must come out of retirement again when the Ronin suit resurfaces in New York, stolen from an underground auction by Kate Bishop, which makes her a target of all of his old enemies. He saves her and works with her to get the target off her back before Christmas, so he can be with his family as promised. Clint not only succeeds just in time but brings Kate, his new mentee, back with him, finding a happy medium.
    • Bookended in Avengers: Endgame with Tony and Steve:
      • Tony Stark finally settled down with Pepper and had a child in the five-year interim after The Blip, but after discovering Scott Lang's quantum time travel, figures out a way to bring everyone back and has to see it through. He dies defeating Thanos, but ensured his family (including Peter Parker) would be safe in the process.
      • Steve Rogers retired at the end of the film and went back to the '40s to live out his life, in honor of Tony's sacrificing his own happy family life. It's implied he married Peggy Carter.
  • The Pacifier: Navy SEAL Shane Wolfe is assigned to watch over the five children of a recently murdered scientist, who was working on a top-secret project desired by foreign powers. While he initially does not take well to being a manny in suburban Maryland, especially since the kids are all difficult in their own ways, he grows to love them and love being involved in a mundane life. After foiling the evil plot so that the family is safe, he retires from the Navy to become the high school's wrestling coach.

  • The Lord of the Rings: After seeing Frodo off, as he left with the Elves, for the Undying Lands. Samwise returns home to his wife, and matter-of-factly announces, "Well, I'm back."
  • The Machineries of Empire: The Shuos Hexarch leads the intelligence arm of a totalitarian Galactic Superpower and usually gets replaced via Klingon Promotion after a few years of relentless scheming and paranoia. Mikodez got the job by helping his predecessor disappear to breed cockatiels.
  • This is what happens to Jack West at the end of Matthew Reilly's series.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "Shada", the Time Lord criminal Salyavin, whose heyday is implied to have been quite adventurous, has retired and contentedly works as a Cambridge professor under the alias Chronotis.
    • At the end of "The Day of the Doctor", the Doctor meets the Curator, who's strongly implied to be a distant future incarnation of himself who retired and now happily spends his days as the humble curator of an art gallery. For bonus points, the Curator is played by Tom Baker, who previously spent seven years playing the eclectic and energetic Fourth Doctor.
    • The Fourteenth Doctor at the end of "The Giggle", after some prodding from his succeeding regeneration, stays with Donna's family and enjoys a normal life to recover from centuries of Survivor Guilt and My Greatest Failure weighing down on him, while the Fifteenth Doctor continues to explore in his stead, having gone through "rehab out of sync" due to Fourteen's own retirement.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Paradise Syndrome", Kirk acquires Easy Amnesia among cringeworthy Native Americans transplanted to a far planet. The episode depicts Kirk as naturally superior, introducing CPR and improving their tools, while a native woman can't figure out how to remove a shirt without laces. We're told that men with stressful jobs, like starship captains, often dream of a more relaxed lifestyle. Kirk, over the course of several months marries the native woman, and she conveniently dies at the end so Kirk can leave without abandoning her and their unborn child.
  • Played for Drama and Horror in WandaVision. Before the events of Captain America: Civil War, Wanda and Vision started a kinship that grew into a romantic relationship, Vision secretly buying them a suburban house in New Jersey as a gift so that they could spend their life together. After his death in Avengers: Infinity War, Wanda hits the Despair Event Horizon, unlocking her Reality Warper abilities and trapping everyone in Westview in what can only be described as a Pocket Dimension where the world is like a sitcom, everyone in it acting as bit characters while Wanda plays out a domestic fantasy with a recreation of Vision. Unfortunately, everyone under her control is suffering under the weight of her grief as her unwilling slaves, and her lack of control over this new power causes it to behave unpredictably, leaving her less able to ignore the reality of what's happening as time goes on. While she breaks the Hex and frees everyone in the end, this leads to her becoming a full-fledged supervillain in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, as she becomes corrupted by the Darkhold in her desperation to reach a reality where she can have this life for real, no matter the cost.

    Video Games 
  • In Bravely Second, Agnes Oblige is the pope of the Crystal Orthodoxy and a renowned Warrior of Light who helped save multiple worlds from annihilation. She takes her own kidnapping in stride and remains resolute in her efforts to aid the heroes in their quest. But at the end of the story, she retires to settle down in the rebuilt Norende with her beloved Tiz, a humble shepherd (and fellow ex-Warrior of Light).

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: In "Davey", Finn initially adopts the titular identity, a perfectly ordinary boring guy with an perfectly ordinary boring job, just to escape a mob of admirers, but comes to enjoy Davey's mundane existence so much that he will no longer answer to his original name. It takes Jake getting arrested to snap him out of it.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, Monty Uno was the legendary Numbuh Zero who founded the Seventh Age of the KND Organization. A brave, crafty freedom fighter who rebelled against the tyranny of Grandfather, successfully leading a revolution that would destroy Grandfather's tapioca factories and liberate kids the world over. In the present, he's Nigel's father and happily helps the current Kids Next Door out once he's recommissioned. But after the events of "OPERATION: Z.E.R.O.", Monty chooses to return to being decommissioned, declaring that while he loves the KND, he has a new mission now: to be a loving father to his son.
  • After being cured of his physical and mental abnormalities in the Season One finale of Harley Quinn (2019), The Joker lives his life as a boring, but compassionate amnesiac living out domestic bliss with a girlfriend and her two kids. After Harley "cures" him of this in "A Fight Worth Fighting For", he breaks up with her, only to realize that he actually found genuine love and apologizes to her, deciding to go back to being Joker while also enjoying a life with a family. Eventually he tires of leaving a somewhat normal civilian life and goes back to supervillainy, and his new family joins in on the fun.
    Joker: Look at those hideous monsters. Oh, Bethany and I used to cuddle just like that. God, we could just sit on the couch and talk about nothing for hours. We just got each other. She always had my back. Good God! That's true love.
  • Played With in the Rick and Morty episode "The Ricklantis Mix-up". One iteration of Rick Sanchez — named "Simple Rick" — decided to forgo the high-octane (though ultimately soul-destroying) lifestyle his alternate counterparts live in favor of living like a normal family man. Instead of following his example, the Citadel of Ricks literally sells those feelings of domestic bliss in the form of a cookie to Ricks lower in the pecking-order, Rick D. Sanchez III having captured him and put him in a Lotus-Eater Machine so that they could milk these feelings from his brain.
  • In Steven Universe, the title character lives with his family of aliens who fight monsters daily. Being a kid, however, he tends to find a lot of the more mundane things other humans do just as exciting. In "Lion 2: The Movie", Connie grows insecure when she experiences some of the exciting things Steven's life entails (a secret armory, a killer training bot, a magical pet lion with a sword in its head), thinking that the things she's interested in (like going to the movies) are dull and unexceptional by comparison. Steven shoots this down immediately.
    Connie: I don't know why you hang out with me! I'm so much more... less interesting than you! And obviously you have some sort of magical destiny. Why would you even care about something like Dogcopter?
    Steven: Why?! Because it's Dogcopter! He's a dog, and a helicopter, and a cop! He shoots missiles out of his butt, and he's gonna save the world! Dogcopter is very cool and important... to me.
  • Red Death from The Venture Bros. is a veteran supervillain from The Guild of Calamitous Intent who, when not riding on his flying mechanical horse and killing his arches, is a family man with a wife and daughter. While he has unquenchable bloodlust, he has long since learned to keep his work life and personal life separate and found a form of peace from that.