Just go do it, buying
a boat that's not gonna destroy you financially, and see how it pans out. I agree with Oceandeep that it should ideally also be one you like to look at, because it's going to be more labor-intensive than you think if you're at all serious about it.
While I really don't like the sailor/maintainer distinction, yes to becoming a sailor before you become a maintainer, lest you spend years refitting a boat only to discover cruising isn't for you. That doesn't mean you cant or shouldn't still lavish your boat with attention throughout
I'm still a youngen, only been sailing for about 6 years, but have actively cruised for a couple. I've working hard for my boat, and I've worked hard on my boat. I don't care if her teak
gets dirty or her hull
gets scratched and loses it shine, but I want her to treat me as well on the ocean as I treat her in the yard. And I like things that are built to last.
Pride of ownership
and a sense of self-reliance and responsibility for everything on board should be just as important as anything else.