Bill, I figure I have around 20-25 years, at most, to live. I began my mini's gaming hobby around 1992. I paid to have my mini's professionally painted, for the first two years, then I began painting myself. I am an army painter, and I will not apologize for it.
My goal is to paint every miniature in my collection, and game with them, more than once, before I die. I am making great progress towards reaching my goal.
I have a friend who play 15mm fanatasy. His mini's are painted to a surprisingly high standard. I only realized this when I picked one up, and held it two inches away from my eye. At tabletop viewing distances, it was all invisible. It struck me that all of that effort, time, and likely money (I don't believe he painted these figures himself), was mostly wasted, with none of the players being aware of the details the figures possessed!
My goal is for every miniature in my collection to be finished, and played with, to avoid my family throwing out unpainted miniatures, likely still on the sprue, untouched, into the garbage. My sons might save a few mini's, for their use, but the super-majority will go into the trash, and finally, into the incinerator of the city we live in.
I'm a realist, and I enjoy the game, more than I enjoy the painting. I love to field my toys in fictional battle. I love to see other people enjoy my games, with my mini's! That, to me, is the true joy of miniature gaming. I want to share my joy with others, as many times as I can, before I die. As I said, I am a realist. I know my chances, my longevity (I hope), and I know what I want to achieve before I die.
I suspect you are of similar age to me (mid-50's). Figure out what you enjoy the most, and work at that. You do not have more than 3-4 decades left to live, so make them as fun, enjoyable, and as exciting, as you can! Cheers!