So as I understand the situation, the Mist wallet is deprecated, no longer being updated, and we are all on our own... I hadn't checked on my ETH in about 3 years... my mistake. I managed to fix the various problems with the old version of Geth and installed the new version, but now when I try to load Mist, it looks like it is trying to sync, but it never gets anywhere and simply fills up my entire C drive with block data.
The end result is that I cannot access the ETH I have held in this wallet. I don't recall ever making a 12 word pass code, so I cannot seem to import the wallet data in to a different wallet app. So my question here is... is my ETH just lost to the aether? I'm not a complete noob, but this is above my level of technical expertise, I only knew enough to open up Mist and see my ETH nice and safe and secure, not held on an exchange... I always thought exchanges were risky, so I moved all the ETH I ever bought to my own wallet. As it turns out... it would have been safer on Coinbase.