I remember that feeling of independent thinking and decisions made solely by me. There was a little bit of fear, but I got over it soon. Your post brings good memories.
I notice that I've become a lot more accepting and a lot less critical of non-JWs.
JW culture creates and foster prejudice against non-JWs by labelling them all as 'worldy' and 'bad association'. JWs tend to always be looking for bad traits in non-JWs so they can look down on them and pridefully reflect on how fortunate they [the JW] are to be part of Jehovah's clean organization.
Also, since learning TTATT I came to appreciate that many of the bad traits I once saw in non-JWs were not really bad at all, but were just petty judgments based on self-righteous, pharisaic interpretations of scripture. Celebrating Christmas, birthdays, mother's day, etc, aren't really bad things. People don't partake in these observances with any pagan motives in their heart. The JWs' condemnation of these things are based purely on stigma. JWs worship a god of stigma.
One of the things that struck me about the JW reasoning on observing holidays with pagan roots is this:
JWs will say that a person who observes these holidays is guilty of worshiping false gods even though they observe them with innocent, non-pagan motives. So it's that easy to worship a false god! You can worship a false god by accident without even intending to! But then they turn around and do the opposite for all the earnest church-goers of Christendom who are actively and deliberately directing worship to the god of the Bible - surely their deliberate effort must mean that they're worshiping the god of the Bible, right? According to the JWs, no. They're worshipping Satan! See the hypocrisy?
They lower the threshold for what qualifies as worship so they can accuse holiday celebrants of worshiping false gods, even though they're not intending to. But they raise the bar high to disqualify the willful, intentional worship directed to the god of the Bible just so they can say persons in Christendom are not worshiping the god of the Bible. There's is something very wrong and hypocritical about this.