Dude, from personal experience I would advice you to put your heart in it if this is what you want. Don't be laid back about it.
I think you should get started with the lessons right away. Or else work on the songs that you aspire playing...
"A few years" will pass too quickly and giving yourself such blunt goals just leaves you in the same spot year after year. Set measurable goals like song X by date Y (but make the target reasonable). Even if you miss the goal, I assure you that you'll be in a better than where you'd be without it.
Maybe if you posted what kind of music you play, people here could give you more direction musically and with respect to guitar to buy... That's just my 2 cents..
And yes, welcome to IGT...
-- My current rig
Guitar: '98 MIJ Ibanez RG520 QS w EMG 81/60
Amp: Laney LC15R Tube, Fernandes 20W SS
Pedals: MI Audio Tube Zone Overdrive, Boss OD3, CS3, MT2, HM2, DS2, CE5, DD7, TU3, Beta Aivin DD2 Delay, Dunlop Crybaby 95Q, Stranger Vol Pedal, BBE SupaCharger
Others: Yamaha RBX 374 Bass, Yamaha MM-6 Synth, M-Audio Fast Track, Shure SM-57, Heet Sound E-Bow Plus
Wanted(pm if selling): EB VPJr/Boss FV500L,Ibanez w Original/Lo-Pro Edge