Help please -- a returning Pythoner

Hello, I was immersed in Python as a pure hobbyist until Covid struck. I was stranded for over 16 months abroad, lost my .py files and have since un-installed VSCode, Anaconda Navigator/Python by refreshing my Windows10 laptop (which is quite powerful/relatively new: 3 yrs. old: 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, Intel i7 8550U (1.8Ghz). I would like to “start all over again” – but I am hesitant to just “rush in” because the entire Anaconda system/environment is quite intimidating. Already, I do not know if I should install Anaconda Python first (and if so which free version? I am just a retired developer, so a stand-alone version is all I want/need), and then install VSCode afterwards. Also, should I install VSCode from the Anaconda Navigator, or independently? On top of this, I am also “getting back into” Powershell 7.3 after a long absence. I would appreciate some orderly guidance on what to do first, 2nd, 3rd … etc. and what appropriate settings (JSON strings, etc.) I will need to ensure that the “total system” - Python, VSCode, Powershell is in complete harmony within the Anaconda Navigator umbrella.
I’d be grateful for any guidance on how to proceed in an orderly fashion, including tips (do’s and don’ts), and recommendations. I am also very interested in the ability to write Python code involving EXCEL files.
Many thanks in advance.