I tried to wrap my head around Go a few times in my late 30’s, but I had very few friends to play with, and even the “easiest” bots (i.e. GnuGo) still ran circles around me, only to create confusion and frustration. I knew there was something I SHOULD be doing, but no matter what I tried, it seems like I kept doing the wrong things. I’d pick it up and put the game away for long periods, never quite getting a foothold.
Then came the Lee Sedol / AlphaGo matches in 2016. Watching the Michael Redmond commentary taught me more Go theory in 5 days that I’d previously learned in as many years. Around the same time, I found a friend who was at a similar level, and the two of us helped each other blunder through from about 20kyu to about 12kyu. After that, I latched on and managed to find enough other resources that I could learn at my own pace.
Having gone through that - here’s what I would say to someone just at the start of that process. Above all - learning to play Go involves growing a new set of eyes - learning to do a very particular type of pattern recognition on much deeper and more entangled levels than you probably have ever done before. And every time you level up and learn to see something new, that knowledge then enables you to realize there are 3 other levels of even deeper pattern recognition you were missing before. This process seems to keep repeating over and over, pulling you ever-deeper, with the sense that there may not ever be a bottom…
The other thing that’s drawn me to Go - and continues to fascinate me - is the sense of multiple, non-overlapping fitness peaks. What do I mean by that? Let’s say you play for a while, and you find yourself getting good at one particular strategy, - REALLY good. You relish using it, and savor the victories it brings. And then you meet another player who is slightly better than you and - it’s not that they meet your strategy head-on and out-do you in it - they seem to completely ignore your strategy and somehow beat you anyway. It puzzles the heck out of you! It keeps you awake at night.
Finally, you figure out what that strategy is - and have that shocking realization of just how it exploits a hole in your previous winning strategy. You cast your old one aside and spend the time and sweat to master this new one. Again, you find yourself using it to great effect, and savoring the victories. And - again - you meet someone just a tiny bit more experienced, who seems to slide completely around your slicing sword strokes, and kills you in some other way you can’t figure out.
And this process seems to keep going - ad infinitum. No matter how good you get at any one particular strategy - someone who has the flexibility to continuously switch between 10-12 different strategies will end up winning in the end.
With all that in mind, my advice is - be patient. Imagine you’re going hunting in the woods for the first time with an expert hunter. As you both make your way through the forest, the expert hunter is going to see things (tracks on the ground, tufts of fur stuck to plants, etc) that will be completely invisible to you, and will make decisions as to which way they will walk (to be upwind of game, etc) and what they choose to step on (sand rather than crunchy leaves) in ways that will be completely foreign and confusing for you.
There might be SO MUCH STUFF going on in this experienced hunter’s mind that they won’t even be able to explain it all to you. It will be slow and frustrating as you learn to see and experience those things for yourself. But eventually, you’ll start having those “A-ha!” moments for yourself, and you’ll start to see the tracks, and hunting that game on your own.
One last little tidbit - when I started here at OGS with a 24kyu ranking, it was very difficult finding people to play with, because a lot of people put conditions on their game invitations that filter out people at the lowest ranks. As such, I would encourage you to pop on to these forums and ASK FOR TEACHING GAMES. I’ve seen a lot of players respond positively to that, and those are going to be the people who can share some insights that will be accessible at the levels you’re starting at, and will at least help you get your foot in the door.