Im also new to boarding at 37 yrs. old. Took me a good day of falling to get the hang of it, but we all still fall hard once in awhile. After the pain of my first day out, I purchased some padded shorts. Add some padding, and those falls wont hurt you as much the next day.
Lessons! YES... TAKE AT LEAST ONE! Best to check your bad habits at the door while learning, then trying to correct later.
Funny thing about the pain/falls... As you progress, the hard falls are not as hard. I speculate Im more aware of the fall just before it happens and prepare for it. Slight changes in position when slamming the hard pack help absorb some of the blow.