Hi Dakota, and welcome to The Waiting Room - the virtual room where many of us await our own turns at valve surgery. My own case was similar to yours. I was diagnosed at age 51 with moderate-to-severe AS, with a valve area right about 1.1 cm2 (square centimeters). From that point on, it took my valve about 12 years before I finally decided I was ready for surgery. I probably could have squeezed another year or so out of it, but I was tired of being tired.
That said, we are all different. Your case may or may not act anything like mine. I had been a recreational runner for many years before diagnosis, and continued to run right up until surgery at age 63. My cardio and I both feel that the long-term exercise regimen helped me to remain asymptomatic for those many years, and we feel that had I not been in better-than-average shape, I would probably have had surgery sooner. One thing my cardio told me about AS, which I initially thought was a joke but turned out to be true. He said "I don't have to tell my AS patients when to have surgery. They all tell me, and they tell me before they are in any danger." What he meant was that AS generally does not cause sudden death (only a small fraction of a percent of these valves suffer catastrophic failures prior to surgery). Instead, the patient eventually develops symptoms that become bothersome enough that the patient says "It is time." Remember, the cardinal (red-flag) symptoms to watch for are shortness of breath (SOB), syncope (fainting) and angina (chest pain). Research studies show that once a patient begins to present any of these cardinal symptoms, if they do not have surgery they typically do not survive longer than a few years.
To make a long story short - try to just live your life. Be sure to have your scheduled cardio consultations and echo's, and keep track of the valve's pressure gradient and valve area. Also keep track of how you feel. Have the dialog with your cardio about who will decide when it is time to operate and how that decision will be made. Don't worry about which valve you want, as there may be new and better choices available by the time you need one. Then put it out of your mind until the next appointment. Unless you present symptoms, there is nothing to be done between appointments, to go back to your regularly scheduled life. Your valve may or may not get worse, but worrying about it isn't going to change anything.
Hang around a while. Ask all the questions you like. The folks here are about the most knowledgeable and sharing people I've met, and no matter what you run into, there is probably someone here who can help.