Hooray! Yesterday I managed to install Linux properly. Thanks to several helpful people on the Linux forums helping me get the right things installed. I've got a basic setup at the moment, but I'm very happy.
One of the main reasons I wanted to do a soft-switch to Linux was to get away from Microsoft telemetry. Having my data sent to them without my consent is a really big red flag. I can't completely ditch it (I've got a love for Excel), but I can try switching to using it 'as needed'.
Previously, I've dabbled with Ubuntu, but it's been several years so I've forgotten most things. To make things a bit more difficult for me, I've switched to Debian even. Not necessarily the easiest to switch to, but I've managed. I would love to be able to learn more about compiling programs from source code. I'm not a coder, but I think that approach would help me understand a lot more about programs that I never got the chance to learn. It may even spark interest in contributing to some FLOSS if I find it interesting enough. Generally for me, it's been easier to donate a dollar or two, but I would love to experience the full picture.