I started out a little sooner than you but it doesnt matter except that at 48 you're not likely to be as foolish as you would have been at 20.
Learning to sail is simple enough. It is very basic and doesnt take too much education - kind of a learn as you do thing. The rest of it can be time consuming - learning how to navigate, rules of the road, anchoring
, etc, etc. You will pick it up as you go.
A class or two would help - at least go out with someone else so you can tell if this is something you really want to do. Take a trip with someone for a week or so, then you'll know.
The size of boat you wind
up with is very important - you will be stuck with what you buy for a long time so buy it right the first time!
I wouldnt consider anything under 32' myself - just not enough room to live aboard in any kind of comfort. I would also advise against going too big - stay below 45' unless you have deep pockets. Even if someone gives you a boat - you have to pay rent, buy paint
, etc, etc. The bigger it is, the more you pay.
My 1st sailboat was 25'. 2nd - 42'. 3rd - 72'. 4th 20'. Now I have a 48' ketch
and a 20' trailer sailor.
I like the 48'er best overall. It doesnt keep me broke like the 72'er did, I can handle it alone, It's big enough to carry all my toys, it has all the bells & whistles I need and sails fast for it's size & design.
Small boats are slow. You may think that you dont care about speed but believe me - you will!
Look around for an Islander 34, 36 or 44. They are old, cheap
, tough as hell, good sailors and look good. I was looking at an I-44 when I found my last boat. The Islander needed too much work but in some ways, I wish I had bought it anyway - it was a hull
that I had help build back in 1966.
Good luck on your search - above all, have fun!