Most of us learn by mistakes, trial and error, and steps forward, backward and laterally. It usually takes time, effort and money to get to a place that you want to be. Writing out the big check isn't always the right answer.
Part of this game is the relentless quest to keep improving, trying to extract one more iota out of the source, make it sound better, more real. So much has to do with set up in the room and the source material, which varies so widely in SQ. I really thought I got off the treadmill a while ago, focusing on buying more records and exploring 'new to me' music (mainly through older pressings).
But, "necessity" always seems to call. I moved. I "had" to upgrade the electrical system and install a subsystem for the hi-fi;
I "had" to buy an isolation table for my turntable. Neither of these were intended to be "oh WOW" improvements- just meant to address system installation in a residential environment with potential for noise, vibration and interference.
I finally jumped into digital for the first time in my main system- I didn't go crazy, but am actually pretty happy in terms of performance, particularly because I didn't go crazy.
Some is just usual maintenance- some NOS small tubes for the amps, I will eventually need to replace my cartridge.
When it's all working as it should and I'm in the right mindset to enjoy it rather than listen with an ear to what's wrong with it, it is an immense source of pleasure. I also take great pleasure in learning about recordings, performances and artists that I've missed or ignored.
The only thing that may be more rewarding is making your own music. Do you play, @n80?