Our Voice: We're grateful to be able to learn from experiences

Life's lessons are learned through our experiences -- some good and some bad.

We also can learn from others' experiences -- if we're willing. Learning from others gives us access to more knowledge and it teaches us to have empathy for one another.

Motivation and endurance

Lance Armstrong visited Nathan Aikele in the hospital after a cycling accident left Aikele paralyzed from mid-chest down and shared this piece of advice: "You get tunnel vision, and you focus, and you get it done."

Armstrong was talking about long uphill bicycle climbs. Aikele's next long climb will not be on a bike. It will be recovery and rehabilitation.

The advice is sound for either experience -- and dozens of other situations people find themselves in.

Aikele is from the Mid-Columbia and has been living and studying in Arizona. He was less than two months away from finishing podiatry school when he was injured in a bicycle crash.

He was introduced to cycling in graduate school and became passionate about it. The enthusiasm he put into racing will no doubt keep him motivated in the coming months.

We are inspired by Aikele's attitude and we're grateful for the people who already are donating to help him cover his medical costs. For those who want to help an account called "Fighting to the Finish Line" has been established at Gesa.

Sherpa decision

Few on the planet will ever climb Mount Everest. Ang Dorjee Sherpa has done it 17 times. But he says he's through now. This must be a difficult call for him.

Dorjee is a Sherpa who lives in Richland and works in Nepal part of the year.

It's quite a commute.

And it's quite a job. He spends the off-season climbing and repairing windmills in the Mid-Columbia -- which also is quite a job.

This month, an avalanche killed 16 Sherpas, many of whom Dorjee knows and several who were on his climbing team.

The Sherpas on Everest belong to a tight-knit group of men who work and live together. This month's avalanche caused Dorjee to reflect on his future -- something we all should do now and again.

Our community has been entranced by this man's travels and climbs. Now he feels like it's time to hang up his climbing gear.

We should all know that any day can be our last, but most of us get caught up in the grind and lose that vision until something jolts us back to reality. Stories like Dorjee's help us keep our limits -- and opportunities -- in perspective.