I am 41. This is the first foreign language I have studied. эти эта это этот....:(
Take heart, it's actually not as complex as it appears at first glance, and could definitely be harder. Usually, with language learning, you hit walls, and you struggle for a while, but then you have a breakthrough and it all makes sense.
Keep at it, and don't get discouraged. It will do wonders for your brain and for you as a person.
If a singular word ends in ь, the plural version of it will end in и instead of ы :)
as far as i know Вот means "here" in the sense of it's being present in the immediate surroundings so it wouldn't cut it as a substitute for "this".