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Ok, it sounds like your transmission might be in limp mode. This will also cause the light to turn on and a fault code to be stored. The fault code will let us know where the problem is.
Many parts stores will read the codes for free for you, so I would suggest you start there and reply back with the 4 digit code number when you have it and we can go from there.
Yes it would have been ok to go to the store.