Millennials have long been mocked for being narcissistic, entitled and lazy. As if those labels aren’t enough, they struggle with a real problem: being unhappy (single) workhorses.

More in their mid to late 20s have been putting their careers before marriage, as population censuses of 2018 and 2015 have shown. Millennials live in an increasingly competitive economy.

A bachelor’s degree is no longer enough. Master’s degrees and postgraduate certifications have become the norm.

I know how it’s like for my younger peers under 20 – the age group that forms the biggest bulk of unhappy folks at 31 per cent, who rate wealth as top priority – while those like myself, who’re between 21 and 30 years old, are scowling behind in second place at 13.2 per cent in Her World’s Happiness Survey 2019.

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Then, as a university student, I spent more afternoons with my tutors than socialising. I was a member of the lonely, paper-chasing, pre-career adult club.

Now, as the oldest millennials turn 40, thus qualifying for Eldershield, the youngest of the lot at 23 will soon make way for Gen Z in the workforce.

As goal-oriented Singaporeans, some things never change.

We’ll continue to conquer one thing after another in the form of acronyms we’ve grown so familiar with even before we hit puberty, from PSLE, GCE O Levels, GCE A Levels, DIP to BA…the list goes on.

Even as I hurdled my way towards becoming a working adult, a dreamy property ad depicting a happy family triggers three letters in my mind – BTO (built-to-order) flat.

Will I be rich enough to afford one at 35, in case I wind up single and miserable?

Okay, maybe not rich, but with enough in the bank to put a down payment that’s equivalent to years’ worth of exotic annual vacations?

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As it is, a large number of 20-somethings are dependants living with their Gen X and Baby Boomer ”pa” and ”ma”.

It’s hard not to feel envious scrolling through your Instagram feed and seeing young newly-weds posing happily in their (own) homes.

This makes us – the singletons – feel as if we’ve lost a big chunk in the game of pursuit.

And the pursuit of higher education – get broke first to get rich later – is out of the question for some.

While singlehood seems to disrupt the plan of what’s next, life isn’t all about that, and romance isn’t the only shape that love takes.

Don’t compare. Think friends, family, self-love and more.

But if being self-partnered is the root of our unhappiness, step out and live up to our digitally savvy rep to scroll, swipe and tap to find love – and expand our social circle.

This story was first published on Her World’s January 2020 issue.