Have great hope futureatwalker. I started the AT 30 pounds overweight without any previous long distance hiking experience and a limited number of short day hikes, turned 65 on the trail, and summitted Katadin less than 5.5 months after starting. It is very achievable if you do excellant planning, go as lightweight as suits you and use common sense in all that you do. Good luck - you can and will do it if that is what you really want.