You’re going to love the freedom and general lack of frustration.
Always apply updates. Applications and/or bits and pieces of the system will receive updates almost daily, sometimes several times a day.
Keep in mind that if you don’t like PureOS, you have the freedom to replace it with another distribution, or to simply dual-boot both distributions. I use Linux Mint, which I think is fantastic and easy, but have never tried PureOS.
Some distributions are “rolling releases” and some are “long term support” releases. Others are more short term. With a rolling release, the system can be kept indefinitely, as updates keep coming. With a long term support release (LTS), the distro may be good for 5 years, for example, after which it will no longer receive any updates at all. Before its end of life, you should upgrade to the next LTS. Some distros make it possible to upgrade the distro to the next version without wiping and reinstalling. With others you may have to totally reinstall the OS. (Or you can choose a fresh install anyway.)
Set your machine to make automatic backups of the system on a regular basis. This will make it easy to revert any bad changes you make, and will also make it easy to set up your system again whenever you reinstall the OS.
Firewall: Yes, definitely. Your distro will likely include a simple application with good defaults already set.
As for apps, after you’ve checked out the ones that are installed by default, add any additional ones you think you need. You can install from the software app, the terminal, or (likely) Synaptic Package Manager, if it’s part of your distro.
Terminal commands: remember you don’t have to know everything at once. Learn them as you need them.
When querying the internet for answers, pay attention to the date of the article and which distro it’s referencing. Debian-based distros, like PureOS, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, etc., use different commands from, say, Arch. (To state it simply.)
I hope this is not insultingly basic. Enjoy!
By the way, I think it would be interesting for us all if you posted all your questions here. For some, it has been a while since we switched to Linux, so understanding what obstacles, if any, new users encounter can help us to help them in the future.