hi , its been close to an year now that i am getting anxious about these thoughts so thought of putting it down here to get some perspective. i am 36 . i feel very anxious something like when your blood pressure shots up , i literally can feel it shoot up inside me when i think about it. it eats me that i don't have a career , not a job. i badly want to be in a well settled career when i reach my 40s . so many things come to my mind and then i spend few months researching about it and ultimately deciding that that particular line of work is not something i am interested in / not made for/not sustainable etc and again the cycle starts. i feel like i dont have anything substantial to show for myself for the past decade that has gone by and that feeling inside me kills me. by the time my 40th bday comes i want to see myself with two things : 1: i would have finished a masters here in the U.S by my 38th year (this one is on track so i am not worried about it as such.) 2: this one is what stresses me : on my 40th , i should have started a phd . i know 40's is late to still be studying for phd and then ideally looking for work based on it and its almost like i would be starting my career from the scratch . but is it realistic ? would there be enough opportunities and general acceptance to work force at that time (say at 43) or is it wishful thinking ? would i be able to build a decent career and also plan for retirement during the next 20y yrs ? i would be funding my masters from my savings and my phd through my job so basically i have to also save money for it in the next few years which is not impossible to do for atleast online phd but again i know online and on-campus is an entirely different experience and value so i also want to see if online is worth it ? both the masters and phd i plan are online only , going back to school full time is out of question now for me. i am into IT/programming but i dont want to do it well into the future , i am not very interested in coding but still does it. i am still planning masters in its related field only but phd i want to do in something that i am absolutely interested in something on the lines of cognition and human behavioral science . i wont be able to work in academia in terms of teaching so i would be most likely looking out for research/clinical studies / lab based works or working in corporates or hospital labs kind of setting etc . does this make sense ? how to convert this into a realistic achievable plan step by step. lets say by the time i am done with the phd i would be 42-43 would all this be sensible to help me work on something which makes me decently happy both in terms of career and getting a hold on my life. thank you.