Identity and Ego
I like your post, and feel there is great value in what you have said. I agree with all of it almost completely.
I have recently gotten into Buddhist practice, and also into the philosophy of meditation and non-dual thinking in general. There are a lot of complicated concepts that I've come across, but I think it's worth trying to share one that is related.
The common theme that I want to share with you is the difference between the ego and the self/identity. The philosophical traditions understand that the ego is a great deceiver. Many practices, including meditation, seek to free the individual from the ego. This does not mean losing the self, though, only the perceptions and deceptions of the ego. In what I've come across, people who are able to become free from their egos ALWAYS retain a strong sense of identity and individuality. It is just free from the deceptions of the ego, and more "true" and "genuine".
I agree completely that living life is important, and being free from fear. I am working to get there, and making strides, but it can definitely be a challenge.