Welcome to the forum, Rich. I don't often get to welcome a persomn; Gord May usually beats me to it.
I've learned lots on the forum.
Go where the sailors are. Go to the DIY
yard and help someone on the weekends. Hang out at a sailing club, take a class if they are available in your area. You'll find out what you want in a first boat
(don't rush into that decision), and what sort of sailing you like. Let the rest of us know how it goes, and as you learn, start contributing. Often the skills that can help on the forum are from outside cruising completely.